I paint. I have always painted, it seems. It’s like writing. You feel a need to do it and given the chance, you do. Not everything I paint is a masterpiece. Not even close. I wish I’d paid more attention at art school but I was having fun growing up back then and a lot went by the wayside. However, I’ve grown to realize that it’s not how well you do something but that you pour your heart and soul into what you do.
Our art association does not jury its shows. We give everyone who loves to paint a chance to exhibit work four times a year and no one ever says you can’t do this or show that. The public buys what they like. We paint our hearts out and enjoy it immensely…all 80 of us. (See http://www.stcatharinesart.com for more.)
Just today I gave three pieces to the local hospital for their mental health ward. Apparently the walls were bare. I thought about it. How many hospitals would put art in a mental health ward? Not many. It wasn’t too long ago that the mental health ward was thought of as just a place for crazies. Why would they want art? Our perception of a mental health ward is likely one of the movies. Unless we’ve been a patient or visitor in one, we have no idea what it’s like. How dismal it must be for people trying to cope with mental illnesses or overwhelming life situations to be surrounded by nothing but bare, likely institutional green, walls.
The call went out about six weeks ago for art on canvas, no glass, and our art association and other associations around the Niagara Peninsula overwhelmed them with donations. What isn’t used in the mental health ward will be spread around the hospital. Those who donated framed watercolors under glass will likely see their work in waiting areas and offices. The foundation gives a tax receipt for the estimated value of your work as well and that’s an added bonus. Another plus is that we are building a huge new hospital that should be ready by 2013. It’s right down the road from me and I can see the five construction cranes every time I leave the house to run an errand. The artwork will all be relocated to the new site when it is ready but in the meantime let’s hope it lightens some heavy souls.
I received a letter in return for my donations today and there was a quotation on it that hit a note…
“Art is not a part of life, it is not an addition to life, it is the essence of those pieces of us that make us fulfilled. That gives us hope.” Hasan Davis