Return to Geo's Home Page

August 10, 2006
by George Allen Durkee

Recently, a man e-mailed four images of his wife's paintings, asking, "Is this just a hobby, or should she get serious?"

So I looked up the word "hobby." I found it describes my feeling about painting perfectly: "A subject or pursuit of absorbing interest, undertaken primarily for pleasure . . ."  Yes! That's it exactly. (And then tacked on, is this qualifying phrase: ". . . during one's leisure time.")

But wait! There is a deeper question than "Is this just a hobby." 

What is the real intention? What is the primary motivation for making art?  Is painting a casual diversion, or is one called? 

Where's the juice? 

It's not a question of whether one has native ability or talent. There are lots of people with talent who can't paint worth a damn. The most important prerequisite for becoming an accomplished painter is want to.

It's not a question of whether someone is willing to pay money for one's paintings. We live in a culture where the value of everything is measured by what it will bring in the marketplace, but that is not the measure of art.

And it's not a question of whether one paints during leisure moments or as a livelihood. The real question is: do I have a passion for learning? When I am comfortable with what I have learned so far, am I willing to raise the bar - to risk? Can I go beyond myself again and again despite setbacks and painful disappointments?

I make my own specific meaning of the term to "get serious." It means in my language to make a full-on-commitment. You don't just sit down at a piano and play a sonata without learning some things first. Painting is no different. Should one make the commitment - a sacred covenant with The God of Painting? No one can tell another whether they should or shouldn't. And I can't say how one makes the choice. It is a soul choice. The closest I can come is to suggest that one ask, Where's the juice?

Be well, Mary
George Allen Durkee

This blog may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever without permission from George Allen Durkee