artist hands

If you looked up Happy Artist in the imaginary dictionary where stuff like that is defined, it would say something like this:

Happy Artist {n}

practising artist of any kind who is fulfilled, joyful, peaceful, curious, resilient, focused, committed and confident in their own unique mode(s) of creative self expression 

 

painting on the floor

Sounds good, right?

So what exactly is this all about and how is it useful to you?

Well, one afternoon in 2016, I was sitting in my office on the sofa, mulling over what exactly it is I do, and why, and how, and asking myself all those sorts of important thinky questions. I was trying to get to the nugget of my work in the world, so that I could talk about it in an instantly accessible way. Clarity is good for all of us, and perhaps especially so if it concerns things you make for other people.

So I was chewing it all over, and thinking, how can make this as succinct and clear as possible? And then a bolt of lightening pierced my brain and I heard this:

#happyartistmovement*

Now, you may know that I am introverted to the point of reclusiveness. I am the the last person who should be – or would want to be – spearheading a movement. I’d rather be at home, in the quiet, by myself, being quiet and alone.

The thing is, my artist path has led me to all sorts of interesting places, including seemingly unscalable mountains, disappointing dead ends, bustling marketplaces, sloughs of despond, and realms where happy dancing and squealing like a five year old is the norm. In short, I’ve experienced an enormous range of what artistic process has to offer, and what I’ve learned {and continue to learn} is now being put into service, both for myself, and for you.

I am a happy artist. And with first hand experience of what life as a happy artist can be like, I want to see more of us.

You don’t have to suffer to be happy

I see so much struggle and stress over art; people really suffering because they think their dry spells and sticky patches are signs that they aren’t really artists, that they’re no good, that they shouldn’t be even trying. They hit a hurdle and think it’s all over, or that it says something about who they are not just as artists but as people. We are so hard on ourselves. It’s painful to watch. {And do. I know!}

I want something different for us, and I know it’s possible because I live it every day.

Being a happy artist is not about being happy all the time. It’s about cultivating a life where your artistic expression is so deeply embedded into your day to day that there is no clear line where art ends and everything else begins. Art is a non-negotiable in the happy artist’s life, whether that means it’s your career or an extra but essential well-filling part of your life.

The happy artist knows that some days everything you make looks like utter shit to you; that sometimes the demons are screaming so loudly you can’t even bring yourself to pick up a pencil. And they also know that process is a circle, and everything exists within it. It’s all in there, and it’s all equally valid. So when the bad days come, the happy artist doesn’t throw up their hands and beat themselves with a stick {or not for long anyway!}; they say, hello again fear/doubt/procrastination/frustration, I remember you. And they know and understand themselves and their own process well enough to know how to move through it with minimum fuss.

I will never suggest that making art is a continually happy experience – sometimes it’s excruciating! – but when you’re making your art consistently and with integrity, that’s a very good and reliable way to up the happiness quotient in your life.

Tara Leaver

The happy artist’s toolkit

In my experience, clarity, consistency, encouragement, and a few practical tools are enough to make a happy artist. I can help you with those. That’s why I am thinking of my work now as a movement for happy artists.

And so you are cordially invited to join the movement, in whatever way works for you. Maybe you’ll take a course with me. Maybe you’ll sign up for Artnotes. {Both those things come with an invitation to the Facebook group.} Maybe you’ll add my blog to your reading list. Maybe you’ll follow my work on Instagram, or Facebook.

Maybe you’ll just make more art. {That would be awesome.}

I am a happy artist. I don’t make art every day, I don’t love everything I make, and I don’t have fun every single second of making art. I still experience the demons; procrastination, self doubt, comparisonitis, fear, imposter syndrome, artist’s block, frustration, stuckness, ruts. {Not perfectionism; that’s the only one that seems to have actually gone away. I think. Staying alert to that one as it can be sneaky.}

But I’m making my art. I’m self expressed, and it only expands and becomes ever clearer.

Because I’m a happy artist, my life is better. It really is that simple. Art doesn’t fix everything, but it makes a fundamental and significant difference. I want that for you. I’d love you to join me.

If you want to know more about my personal journey to this point, I suggest: Becoming a Happy Artist

And if you’re interested in a more in depth look at what makes a happy artist, you might like: 14 Ways to be a Happy Artist

And for more happy artist shenanigans, plus one of my rare audio blog posts, then check out: Don’t Make it Good, Make it True

Feel free to use the #happyartistmovement hashtag on Instagram on any photo you share that demonstrates your taking action as, or towards being, a happy artist. Use it for any art you make as part of one of my courses. Use it to show the world what kind of energy a happy artist brings.

PS. I made us a playlist.

 

 

*partially ironic hashtag, but also useful on Instagram. ;)

Pin It on Pinterest