Loneliness and Being An Artist

Peony painting featured in Oshi Yang's book Flower and Birds: A Perspective. This book is one of the best instructional books featuring the Ling-nan Style of Chinese Brush Painting.

Art as a Solitary Pursuit

We are all familiar with the stereotypical life of solitude that is often associated with being an artist. We are also coming out of unprecedented circumstances with a global pandemic that almost necessitated isolation. Many of you in our OAS Extended Family embraced this situation as a opportunity to refocus on your art and we were witness to the fruits of this focus.

We all can acknowledge the tradition especially from a romanticized story-telling standpoint of art as a solitary pursuit. There are also great merits to time spent alone. We live in a time where the reach of people's ability to influence others has expanded in an unprecedented way. Any person by learning a few technology skills can immediate start building an audience of followers and encouraging and influencing them with their opinions and point of view. While influences are very important to an artist, it is also important to connect to your internal source of inspiration. Each of us has inside of us an inexhaustible source of energy and inspiration. It is the time we spend, seemingly alone that often produces the best conditions for connecting to this internal source.

What About Loneliness?

The feeling of loneliness is a universal experience. Almost all of us can related to what it feels like to be lonely. Avoidance of this feeling can be a powerful motivator. Many of us will do almost anything to avoid feeling lonely. But what is really going on when we feel lonely?

First and foremost, it is important to dispel the myth that being alone produces loneliness. Many of us have had experiences where we spent time alone and did not feel lonely. Many of us also have had the opposite experience where we were amongst people and yet still felt isolated or lonely.

Simply put, the feeling of loneliness is an indication that you are ignoring your connection to your inner source. There is a part of you that never feels alone because it is at intimately connected with the entire Universe. In short, there is a part of you that always experiences holy union with the Universe. When you are aware of the connection to this larger part of you, you feel peace, love, even passion and joy. When you become unaware, you feel broken, incomplete, aching, and longing.

What About Relationship With Others?

Have you ever been in love? This powerfully intoxicating feeling has been romanticized to mythical proportions. It is the subject of poems, songs, novels, and movies while simultaneously being completely misunderstood by most people. What is happening when you feel "in love"?

The feeling of being in love is produced when you focus on someone through the eyes of your inner source. Your inner source sees that person with  unconditional love and acceptance. When you focus on someone in this way, you become aware of your own connection to your inner source and the consequential feeling of this connection is what we are describing with the phrase "I am in love."

Practical Tips

  • When you are alone and feeling lonely, try doing an activity that makes you aware of your connection to the bigger things around and inside of you. Go for a walk in nature, listen to some music that you like, paint, or just still your mind, focus on your breathing and feel the gentle guidance of your inner source calling you back to yourself.
  • Develop a habit of seeing the positive and beautiful things of everything and everyone around you. Do this consistently and you will feel the feeling of being in love often.
  • Always prioritize your connection to your inner source as a way to normalize and provide proper boundaries to the rest of your relationships. Learn to be happy and feel connected alone and your relationships with others will be richer and healthier.
  • Cherish the time spent alone, completely free from the influence of others. Use that time to develop yourself, develop your art, develop your connection with yourself. This is the process that defines your unique artistic voice.
  • Take fleeting feelings of loneliness in the pursuit of your art as a sign of encouragement. Often it is an indication that you are taking the road less traveled artistically and are on your way to developing something truly unique.
  • For a positive, encouraging online community of Chinese Brush Painters, try our OASLife Facebook Group!

Peony painting featured in Oshi Yang's book 100 Flowers. This book has an excellent combination of content and helpful sequential instruction.

Artist improvement

1 comment

Victoria Manning

Victoria Manning

Wow.. I’m a therapist and also studied philosophy in college… doing art is also therapeutic. I like the way this article invites the reader to pursue a connection with the spiritual aspects of being a human…. Being in connedtion with one’s spiritual awareness gives life a richer flavor and is often the doorway to joy. Creativity is usually the celebration of how we make meaing in our lives and also can serve as a therapeutic practice to bring joy into our awareness… spending time in nature…observing the intricate beauty is uplifting.. It’s hard to feel lonely while observing all the beauty around us and feeling our interconnection with others and living beings in general. Usually artists notice these connections and draw inspiration from what is seen and felt.

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