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  • Jan Thoreen Lewis

Why art matters to you. Yes, ALL of you!

Updated: Mar 1, 2019

When I was just a kid, I noticed that my mom had a knack for decorating, flower arranging, creating beautiful clothes, and gardening.  She was a home-ec teacher – remember those? She brought the gift of her skill at creating beauty to her students and to me. I didn’t know it yet, but she was planting strong, sturdy seeds of creativity in my heart.  I don’t think it ever occurred to her that she couldn’t create something that gave great joy to others, often out of almost nothing.


A look into my artistic process– Here’s a favorite family spot at Cottonwood Lake. You can see the grid I’ve made on my photo so the proportions don’t get too wonky.

One question I seldom thought to ask as I grew up was, “What’s In It For Me?”  (The exception was when she was making me a new dress & I was picky about the fabric, the color, or whether or not I could twirl in it.)  It’s not a bad or selfish question – it just never occurs to most of us to ask it lest we be thought of as selfish or greedy. But it’s a foundational question that talks about what really matters to us as individuals.  Let’s call it the WIIFM (pronounced whifm) factor.

Positive feelings are what matter in life and are what great art can evoke in you any time you want.

So, I want to ask yourself that question about art – “What In It For Me?”  You may never have thought about it, so let me help you out. It comes down to feelings.  How do you feel when you see the first flowers of spring, when you feel a warm breeze on your cheek, when your child gives you a kiss, when a powerful thunderstorm comes through, when you see a 14,000′ mountain jutting up through a layer of clouds, or when the trees are cloaked in rustling red and gold in autumn?  Positive feelings are what matter in life, and they are what great art can evoke in you.

So, when you think about it, there’s a LOT in it for you!  Surround yourself with ART!

I’ve already done a lot of work to get to this stage, but I’m still just working in a very messy, transparent way to get in my color areas.

So, what’s in it for you when you buy art?  Continual awe, inspiration, peace, joy, hope, happiness, comfort, calm, excitement?  When we have a work of art in our home or workplace, we have the chance to reconnect with memories of special places, experiences, trips, and wonderful times in our lives.  To feel again the connection we’ve had with family, pets, or friends. To be inspired with the invitation to enter an adventure we yearn for in a place of unbelievable beauty.

In some powerful way, the art we love connects the story the artist is telling to our own story, and our heart responds.
Almost done! At this point I take some photos of my piece because they tell me quickly if I’ve made any major errors that need correcting. I make a few adjustments and add some details.

This heart-connection – this longing – can be fulfilled by the art we love and are drawn to.  What’s the story behind it? Why did it matter to the artist to tell it? In some way that story connects with our story – a confluence of emotions that connects us to the artist.  This is why buying good art is critical, for how else do we feed the longing inside us but with the Arts – music, drama, dance, writing, and the visual arts.  They are as necessary to our own happiness as is the touch of our loved ones or the beauty of nature.

“Cottonwood Lake Memories” 16″x 20″, oil on canvas, $950 framed.
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