You Are Never Too Old by Wendy Golding
I have painted or created all my life. At 18 years old I had the opportunity to go to art school but had doubts about my ‘skills’ and instead took a job (thinking I would paint as a hobby). Roll on many years later I realise that now is my chance to embark on my art journey, and I am embracing it.
How many times have we heard mature ‘artists in the making’ say ‘I would love to do that but I’m too old, too busy, too set in my ways to try’.
Swan at repose – soft pastels on Clairefontaine PastelMat
Many of us seem to think becoming an artist is a young person’s life choice, that you must go to art school, and you need to have made it by the time you are 30. Internet comparisons of artists’ talent and styles can depress you into thinking ‘why bother trying, I’m too old to learn now, I’ll never be that good’ – well – newsflash – creativity is not solely for the young – many artists create their better work late in life.
Looking back in history many artists only became recognised or appreciated later in life, but it did not stop them wanting to create, to place a bit of their soul in every piece they painted, to put aside negative criticism and accept constructive ones, to develop their artistic skills.
Examples of artists finding their voices late in life:
• LS Lowry had his first London one man show in 1939 (aged 52)
• Carmen Herrera, minimalist abstract artist, 103 years old, found recognition in 2016
• Mark Rothko, abstract expressionist, was 43 when his work was lauded
• Wassily Kandinsky only started painting at the age of 30 but went on to be recognised as a pioneer of abstract art
• Folk artist Grandma Moses started painting in her 70s
• Claude Monet only really progressed with his iconic style from his 40s
• Paul Cezanne spent years having his work rejected by the Paris Salon, his work highly criticised until in his 40s he received some recognition
• Van Gogh was only really ‘discovered’ after his death
Their art stories inspire me to keep trying. I’m still developing my personal ‘style’ and I love so many mediums. I’m enjoying the journey, as the process of giving yourself to hours of creating and developing is something I love. They say, ‘Good art is hard won’. Younger artists may be pessimistic about what the future holds for them – they question the establishment – whereas older artists may have more wisdom and life experience, which can be valuable in the creative process as they have experienced more moments of joy and of sorrow that can colour their art.
L S Lowry lived and worked for over 40 years in Lancashire – he painted what he saw every day in his working life, and it can be said he captured the soul of the working-class people.
There is an intrinsic value in following a passion, to love the process and worry not about the result but enjoy the moment of creating. It brings joy into your life and you can only get better. I do believe that creativity helps us grow as a person and in this difficult global crisis it helps strengthen our mental health.
Yes, there is the fear of starting something new and we can be too self-judging. Creating art is challenging but we should embrace these challenges and give ourselves permission to try; and I love this journey.
As a ‘Sunday’ artist for many years I juggled the inner desire to develop my art with the practicality of a day job, but having recently started selling my artwork in local art/craft fairs and artisan shops, am I daunted on this art journey? No! … Am I excited as to where this will lead me? Absolutely!
Remember, as Lowry said: ‘You don’t need brains to be a painter, just feelings’’… So it is never too late to start your own ‘art journey’, and I can recommend getting involved with your own local art community where you will find many like-minded people that will support you along the way.
To see more of my art please visit Wendy Golding Art or follow me on social media using the links below.