THE PRICE OF PURSUING ART
Anyone who is pursuing an art form as a way of life knows, it is hard as hell.
I know quite a few people who are pursuing some form of art in a significant way. People who are trying to earn an income through writing, painting, doing photography, or making music. We struggle.
I often feel like I have to work so hard, only to get nowhere. Like I have been striving against the wind.
My dream is to create space in my life so that my passions flourish.
That looks like
- Being a world-class landscape and adventure photographer
- Being a writer whose work influences and inspires others
- Exploring the world and appreciating God’s creation
- And all the while, keeping my faith in God at the core of who I am and what I do.
I guess if I were to break it down, this would be my mission statement: Live life to the fullest by pursuing God, beauty, adventure, and all the while sharing that with others.
Sometimes I feel like I am not gaining any traction, like I’m not getting closer to accomplishing my dreams. Maybe that’s because I compare myself to others who are farther along in the journey, who are launching books straight into the bestseller’s lists (ahem… Jeff Goins) or who are opening art galleries in New York. That’s when I get really discouraged.
Thankfully, more often I have days like the one I had recently. It was a day when I realized my appreciation for where I am on my journey. And it had nothing to do with recognition from others or financial gain. I simply realized, I love what I do.
I love life at this very moment.
I was by myself, at the top of small mountain in Zion National Park, photographing monsoon clouds build and roll in over the expanse of sandstone monoliths, hoodoos, and slot canyons. I stood there amazed.
And I was thankful.
I go to Zion National Park regularly. Every time I go I am humbled and awed by its beauty. A week ago I was at the top of a ridge as a monsoon storm rumbled overhead, pelting me with rain. A few minutes later, three waterfalls erupted where there is normally dry sandstone. I witnessed an incredible sight, a flash flood that pours off a thousand foot cliff; an event that happens a few times a year and lasts only minutes. And I was there to see it. The fulfillment I felt at that moment was incredible. It was then that I knew, I am doing what I love.
I couldn’t not do it.
And it doesn’t matter if I continue living this way without worldwide acclaim. The process is a reward in itself.
For me, standing on the mountain top and being a witness to the grandeur of nature is better pay that what, say, National Geographic could provide (although I would love pay from National Geographic).
If I can’t enjoy and appreciate doing this without fame and copious amounts of cash, I won’t enjoy it if those things ever become a reality.
I believe that if I work diligently, if I am willing to take the slow journey and appreciate that process for what it is, other successes will come as well.