Monday, October 21, 2013

An Artist's Journey: Self-Worth

Acrylics on recycled paper. 

When I started exploring art/art journaling several years ago, I was extremely frugal about what I picked up in the form of art supplies.  As I got more confident in my skills and my desire to continue making art, I found myself picking up more and more supplies but still remained extremely frugal with the quality of the materials.  I often bought the cheapest brand or even tried making due with a homemade version of something I deemed too expensive. 

I spent hours drooling over the high quality/name brand supplies in the many YouTube videos I would watch.  I kept a wish list in my purse and slowly over time I began to pick up a pen here, a jar of gesso there.  It took me a while but eventually I deemed myself worthy and started to occasionally splurge on something like a jar of Golden brand gel medium.  Most of the time though I would save the “too expensive” purchases for my birthday or x-mas wish list. 

I just didn’t feel right about spending “too much” money on art supplies.  Just like I didn’t feel right about spending “too much” money on clothes, or my hair, or going out to dinner.  There was something within me that kept me at a certain dollar threshold for each type of supply or tool.  As if that was all my talent was worth, all my art was worth, all that I was worth. 

Fast forward several years later and I am now buying high quality art supplies.  I am still frugal and enjoy recycling and being creative with supplies.  And now I might only buy 1-2 items, but when I do I get the  good stuff.  Not because it is a special occasion, holiday, or a special splurge for myself, but just because I am worthy.  Or perhaps better said, the good stuff is now worthy of me.    

I can’t recall exactly when the switch took place.  I’m not even sure it was a switch.  It may have happened more gradually.  But somewhere along the way, supplies that were once out of my self-worth’s reach became reachable. 

This past weekend I totally scored at a local craft store.  I figured out that I had a coupon for 40% off artist brand paints.  Unlimited amounts, unlimited brands.  Wow!  I realized as I was filling up my cart that there was still a level of self-worth I hadn’t achieved.  I was gleefully pawing at the shelves that I had always looked at longingly before (as I walked by).  I had always felt those paints were “too much” at full price.  But suddenly, they were too good to pass up at 40% off. 

As I played with my new paints and made room for them in my art studio this past weekend, I pondered my journey over the last several years.  Through art I have grown tremendously.  Not only in my talent, but in how I see myself and my self-worth.  Thank you, ART!

How has art impacted your journey and self-worth?




  1. Fe, you have opened my eyes to a way of thinking I didn't know I was practicing. Thank you for reminding me that I am worthy, my talent is worthy, and my art is worthy of the 'good stuff'. Bless your heart, always remember though, there's nothing wrong with being frugal. lol

  2. Nice post! I have been art/junque journaling for a few(??) years now, and I don't know if I can say I feel any major life changes yet.. But I know for sure that it has been therapeutic in helping me wind down at night, after a long day of whatever way my day went!.. It helps me sort my thoughts out, gives me just a small period of "me time", to play a little bit, creatively. I don't feel I am a great artist by any means.. at least not yet. (0; But while it's not anyone else's place to dictate what is good, or great, I look at my own work, while flipping through my journals, and I think some of it is good... maybe even very good! My skills are primitive, and I require practice. A good class wouldn't hurt.. And I could definitely stand to at least TRY better quality products, I admit... And that's where you hit a nerve here! Am I worth it?.. I have only worked with 50-cent paints from Walmart.. A little gesso, a couple of fancy pens, and nothing more. But wouldn't my art perhaps IMPROVE, to SOME/ANY degree if I spent the extra dollar or two for quality tools or supplies to work with? I would think it IS worth a try.... Thanks for the inspiration, or the well-needed little shove, shall we say! I'm your newest subscriber by email now. Nice to meet you! ~tina

  3. Thank you both for your kind words. I am now finding that I am having to talk myself into using the good stuff and not saving it and letting it sit on the shelf for a "special" piece of art. ALL OF MY ART IS SPECIAL. ;->

    @Melody, thank you for the reminder to continue to be frugal.

    @Tina, nice to meet you as well and I look forward to getting to know you and your art better.