Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Different Kind of Profit by Helen Broadfoot

Artists and artisans spend hours of angst or joy creating their work, deciding on exactly what colour, what brush stroke, what subtleties to implement in order to express "exactly" what they are trying to say.  To watch that painting sit unappreciated on the wall of a gallery or to watch someone walk by without so much as a look makes one cringe.

People are so incredibly different in their tastes and insight that what one person sees and appreciates, the next doesn't 'get' at all.  It certainly can get a little depressing!

Here's a wonderful thought for all artists reading this.  Think of 'non-profit' as 'profitable'.  If you can wrap your heart around the idea of painting for non-profit you will find there is no such thing!  Profit is not only a monetary concept.  Profit is actually defined as. "total earnings less expenses"  Now, are earnings only judged in monetary terms?  Would someone say the profit from love is worth so many dollars?  No.  Profit from effort comes in many forms.

When I painted my series "A Show of Respect"  I did it with a passion for exposing the consequences of war on the lives of children.  As I painted and did the research for this project, the things I learned, I realized, had to be told to others.  I had no idea if this would ever reach beyond Pender Harbour or how I would ever get it around the world, but instead I focused on the work itself.

When one does work from the heart for another, it grows legs.  This I can tell you is true.  People who are advocates for animals touch others, grandmothers who bring the plight of African grandmothers taking care of their grandchildren who's parents have died of Aids touch others, doctors who work in war zones without pay touch others. There is profit or reward in the deepest sense for all those who have experienced a passion for helping even though money has nothing to do with it. 

I have recently donated the warchild exhibit to The Missing Peace Gallery organization with ties to the major peace museums of the world.  The upcoming exhibit will be in conjunction with  a visit from the author of "A Long Way gone:  Memoirs of a Boy Solder" by Ishmael Beah. at Wright State University in Dayton Ohio and has also been shown at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at UBC, public galleries and, using prints, in peace galleries in Australia.  None of the original paintings have been sold and are in a collection for education.  I have made no money from these paintings other than from prints which help with my expenses to an extent.  On the other hand, I have had the riches of a heart full of hope and the warmth of a feeling that what I painted made a difference.  There are no riches better than that. The saying is "build it and they will come", I say "paint it" and they will "see"!

The next time you feel down about your work,  try painting for a purpose and watch what happens.  Donate a painting to an auction or to the SPCA or for a community group or a cause you care about and you will know the joy of painting for a different kind of profit..a twofold profit.  Shout about things through your paintings so others can share in your knowledge of things that are important!  I don't mean all the time, but once in a while it is good to reward yourself by painting for a cause.

The gift comes back to you time and again.
Helen Broadfoot

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