Since I started selling my art and showing in galleries, I have put more pressure on myself to create art that will sell. I was paralyzed with worry about whether my paintings were good enough and if they would perform well. Eventually, starting a new painting seemed like a daunting task and I found it difficult to enjoy creating art.
Selling a piece of artwork, or gaining attention for your art can be a very gratifying experience. However, creating art for pure enjoyment and just because you want to can also be equally gratifying and personally rewarding.
Creating art just for ourselves can provide a much needed outlet for self expression, stress relief and experimentation.
So why should you devote time for "fun" art?
Make More Art
Allowing yourself some time just once a week to make something for fun can make it much easier to pick up your art supplies, especially after work. Since I started doing this, I have been painting more often, and when I do paint I enjoy it more. This practice of painting more often also makes it easier to go back to the more "serious" art.
Some small fun paintings in my sketchbook from this year.
There is nothing wrong with doing something just for the sake of enjoyment. Not everything that we do needs be posted online, monetized, or have a purpose. Creating art just for your own enjoyment and overcoming your own challenges can be very personally fulfilling. Creating art can enrich many other areas in our lives and has been shown to have health benefits.
Try Something New
Giving yourself the mental space to create something just for you will allow you the time to play and learn something new and improve your skills. I recently completed a fantasy style portrait that I found super challenging. I learned a new oil painting technique called "grisaille", which is where you paint a fully fleshed out underpainting in grey and white. I have to say, using this technique has really improved my portrait painting game! I don't think I will ever sell this piece (unless someone shows interest). This was a very challenging, yet fun, experiment.
Finished Piece - Titled "Lady of Spring"
Underpainting using Grisaille method
There is No Pressure
When you create art for pure enjoyment, there are no expectations. If the painting doesn't turn out to be your best, that is okay. If nothing ever happens with this piece of art and it sits around collecting dust in your closet, that is also okay. The purpose here is to enjoy the act of creating art. Creating art from this mind-set may help you to learn to stop putting so much pressure on yourself and relax.
Having fun with your art and doing something relaxing often helps to relieve stress and replenish your mental energy. We all need these little breaks and pockets of "fun time" in our lives. If I am working on something challenging, taking a break to just scribble or make some bad art for fun helps to reset my brain and keeps me sane.
I have found this practice of creating art just for myself to be beneficial for my mental health, and for my art practice overall. It is important to find pleasure and joy in what we do, otherwise what is the point in doing it? What about you, do you ever create art just for fun?