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Is Art a Rich Man's Pastime?

As a painter, sketch artist, designer and more, I'm constantly asking myself, should I be using better materials? Should I buy more expensive paints and canvases? Should I upgrade my pen collection to a higher quality selection? Should I be using Adobe products rather than free online software? Can I even consider selling my art as prints if I'm not using high quality or top of the line supplies? It's taken me a long time to come to this conclusion, but the simple answer is, no.

I buy what I can afford and so should you. When I was in my early to mid 20s-just out of college working a part time job, living at home and trying to pay off college loans- I could barely afford to buy any kind of art supplies, let alone expensive ones, but drawing and painting were my favorite pastimes so I "splurged" on the cheapest things I could get. As much as I would LOVE to be able to go to my local art store and purchase all the pretty things, I generally stick to the Hobby Lobby (and other big box store) sales.

Watercolor painting of a tree lined horizon at sunrise
Treeline Sunrise

As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that art shouldn't be a rich man's pastime. So if all you can afford is a dollar store paint set, then use it. If a basic water color set off the Walmart shelf is the only thing the budget allows, get it. If a Hobby Lobby half off sale tickles your fancy (guilty), grab those bargain paints by the balls and get to creating. If it makes you happy and it's something you want to do whether for enjoyment, relaxation or a form of second income, use what you can afford until you can afford better (or if it doesn't matter to you, stick with the cheapest stuff for however long you like!).

Unfortunately, we are living through a time that if money is tight, society expects you to never spend your money on anything that brings you joy. I 100% believe in the idea of budgeting and living within your means, but you still have to do things that bring you joy once in a while. Life cannot be an endless cycle of working and paying bills. You still have to be able to do the things that make you feel alive.

This was a jewelry box I painted for my sister for Christmas 2021. The scene is from near her hometown in Twin Bridges, Montana.  I really loved being able to do this for my oldest sis and having her here for the holidays this year.
Montana Mountains

For a lot of people, arts and crafts are a way to unwind. I said in my last post, painting is one of my favorite things in the world to do because it's one of the few things I can do that completely engulfs my mind. Its the only pastime I have found that gives me a complete escape from the world. I have a lot of anxiety and sometimes it feels like my mind never stops. It gets overwhelming constantly worrying about just about everything. Painting is the one thing that stops the worrying. A lot of other people find comfort and joy in some kind of artistic expression, whether it's scrapbooking, playing music, painting, writing and so much more. Art is something enjoyed by almost everyone and everyone should be able to do it, even when the money is tight. So my best advice to keep creating, even on a limited income is buy what you can afford and keep creating, and don't ever let anyone make you feel bad for "splurging" on something that brings you peace and happiness.

On a slightly different note, I just wanted to say it's almost the end of the year and I just want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I hope 2022 brings everyone more joy and happiness, more time to do what you love, more time to become the person you want to be. I hope 2022 just brings more good all around.

To those who are in the same boat as me and have struggled throughout the 2020's (and I'm not just talking about Covid and politics, but from a more personal standpoint), I hope this next year brings you closer to peace, happiness, forgiveness, love and whatever else you are looking for. This time last year I was lost and broken after my ex-husband walked out on me. This year, I'm still lost and broken, but I'm finding my way and feeling more whole with each passing year. This time next year, I'll feel even better. I hope anyone else going through a rough time is finding their way back also. We're all in this together. Talk to someone, hug someone you love, tell people how you feel, do what you have to to get back to the good stuff. Life is hard but you're strong, keep moving forward no matter what it takes.

Until next time, Happy New Year! Peace and Love from mine to yours.

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