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Monday, January 16, 2012

Are You/Am I an Artist?--How to Find Answer For Your Own

We encounter this objective and subjective Q, "Are you/Am I an artist?" in life. Some seek an answer in techniques, others in a financial income, others in fame etc. My approach is different from above. Yet, my answer is yes.
I'd share the experiences and thoughts.

Stormy sea
A German poet, Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet," has answered me. I've been reading this book since a teenage. A very short book. Rilke's 10 letters to a poet wannabe, Kappus. Full of beautiful sentences, deep thoughts and spot on.

A wondering sheep, Kappus asks Rilke, newspaper editors and so ons, if his work is good, comparing with others. Well, we tend to do the same, too much worried about others comments on our job and skeptical about our talent or ability.
Deep thoughts in sunshine at Narrabeen beach

Rilke's caring and sensitive answer is below,
"Now(as you have permitted me to do advise you) I beg you to give all that up. You're looking outwards.... Nobody can advice and help you, nobody. There's one single means. Go inside yourself. Discover the motive that bids you write: examine it sends its roots down to the deepest place of your heart, confess to yourself whether you would have to die if writing were denied you."

...a teenage Sadami gave up writing, but drawing!

Rilke goes on.

"Ask yourself in the quietest hour of your night : must I write? Dig down into yourself for a deep answer. If this should be in the affirmative, if you may meet this question with a strong and simple, "I must," then, build your life according to this necessity...."

I was convinced that I'm an artist = drawer, painter, even though it took ages to feel the "strong short yes."
You see,
Friends, technical, financial, social status etc are not a matter at all.

Furthermore, Rilke suggests Kappus what subjects should be for poems. I admire Rilke's attitude.
"Draw near to Nature. Try as if you were one of the first men, to day what you see and experience and love and lose."(*Friends, I always try to see the world like a new born baby.) Also, our "daily life" is rich inspiration resources. Rilke says. "If your everyday life seems poor to you, do not accuse it; accuse yourself, tell yourself you're not poet enough to summon up its riches ; since the creator there is no poverty and no poor or unimportant place."

Yes, so true.

I sketch our everyday life and feel the beauty all the time. As if I were finding gold out of mud. But in fact, all is gold, not a single junk exists in our life -- it's all up to an artist's eyes.(Hope my poor English makes sense!)
Critics may say, "Sadami, Rilke's thoughts are much like vocation or too abstract." Of course, you can find other ways. But for me, Rilke has shown really the 'concrete' methods to know "who/what I am." It has enlightened me. Today, I'm the artist.Friends, let us listen to our hearts, trust in ourselves and go on.
The answer is in ourselves. That awaits our awareness.

And the answer is so special. Precious and very private.
There's no need to disclose it to others.

Happy Painting!!

"Selected Letters 1902-1926, Rainer Maria Rilke" (1988)
Quartet Books Ltd, London, pp409-410.



  1. "Its all up to the artist's eyes" - beautifully said! If only I stick to painting or sketching every day !

  2. Oh Sadami, I love this post. You have brought up a subject I have wondered about and question : 'am I an artist'. I have often thought somebody can call themselves an 'Artist' only if they are successful in selling their work as a professional, hence in my meagre way of occasionally selling paintings and not doing it as a 'profession' I am, therefore, NOT an artist. But reading your post, has turned that thought around and I need to say 'I love painting and sketching in various mediums and could not live without it, it is a part of who I am. I am, therefore, an Artist. Thank you Sadami for sharing this post with us.

  3. Hello Sadami

    The snowman is so sweet!
    I can not describe it with English words.
    But I must not.
    Everyone who sees him, knows what I mean.
    Especially the little golden birds.
    They are in quite ecstatic dreams.
    No wonder so well cared for

    best wishes

  4. Hi Sadami,


  5. What a great sharing today, Sadami! Thank you so much, from me and from any others who often take this new year to question every little thing and come up lacking. Can I live without creating art? No, I cannot. So, dear Sadami, I, too, am an artist! Have a wonderful Sunday.

    1. You are an artist, Sadami, and very wise!

  6. Gotta love the way you think Sadami, I agree completely with you in this post, and now I just need to read that book!
    BTW when did you become such a cute snowman?
    Have a great day, take care of those hands ^_^

  7. Could not agree with you more. This is so encouraging. Aim is to enjoy... creativity will follow.

  8. Wonderful post Sadami; I downloaded Rilke's letters for my own to re-read whenever that doubt creeps in, but where it used to be a constant in my mind, it hasn't been of late. I'm happy to say: Yes, I am an artist. I made the discovery on Blogger over a couple of years. I'm pleased I decided to put myself out here.

  9. Sadami, esa acuarela de las olas es genial. Me gusta mucho como los pintas...Yo no sé pintar esa olas, o me cuesta mucho! Te felicito.
    Soy un artista? No lo sé! Creo que no! Soy un aficionado a dibujar y pintar. Eso sí.
    Los textos que acompañan tus dibujos son difíciles de interpretar para mi. No sé Inglés y la traducción no es clara. Lo siento.
    Un fuerte abrazo.

  10. Hi,Meere,
    Thank you! Reagrding everyday sketch, if you want to do it, you will make it. It's all up to your WILL/intention and move your hands.
    Cheers, Sadami

  11. Dearest Ann,
    Thank you for the honest comment.
    Ann, please stop using negative meaning adjectives such as "meagre" on yourself. It hurts yourself. I know well you've been working hard. Appreciate your achievement, any achivement. Say yes to you.

    Regarding success, I'd dedicate this say for you,
    "To live your life in your own way,
    To reach goals you've set for yourself,
    To be the person you want to be,
    ----that's success."
    Quoted from a self-planning kits provided by "Australia Coucil for Arts."

    When I got into this industry, I did market research and studied about it in a practical aspect. Based on statistical data in self-planning kits, I analyzed, learned and planned my dream and a future.

    Ann, each flower has its own beauty. Some people think roses the most, but it's because of their value sytem. A violet has different beaty from roses. I'd bloom out in my own way.

    Kind regards, Sadami

  12. Estimado José,
    Gracias. Ahahahaha, cada uno de nosotros es un gran artista, que arn't!
    Cheers, Sadami

    Dear Jose,
    Thank you. Ahahahaha, each of us is a great artist, arn't we!!
    Cheers, Sadami

    >>>Jose said...
    You're a great artist, Sadami.

  13. Lieber Patrick,
    Danke! Du bist in Schnee, nicht wahr? Ich hoffe, Sie werden einige warm aus, dass der Schnee den Menschen zu bekommen.
    Cheers, Sadami

    Dear Patrick,
    Thank you! You're in snow, aren't you? I hope you will get some warm from that snow man.

  14. Dear HaniHani,
    そう、カネ、いや、違った、goldの山。 "どっちも、卵で、どっちもにわとりだとおもうの。同時進行なんだとおもうわ," に賛同です。 たぶん、強いて言うと、いい目を持つほうが先。と言うか、何かを見て、先に感動が来るでしょう。コレは自分の子供だった頃の経験と子供、知的障害の方達その他の絵を見て学んだのよ。"いい絵を描いて=人を感心させてやろう"という下心で技術ばっかり磨いても、そんな絵、人を感動させません。後年、大学で心理学講師と大論戦をやってあ、なるほどと思ったの。"Emotion comes first," なのよ。だから、感じる心を持つことが前。一生懸命描きたくてやってたら, そのうちやりかた=技術はfollowします。そこから、同時進行なんだとおもうわ. 長い過程だけど、それは付け焼き刃でない自分のスタイルを生みます。
    Snow man, うふふふ、Sadamiだといいわね。私のマスコットでアトリエの机に住んでいます。あんまり可愛くて、教会の不要品店で見つけたとき、私がstep motherになりました。身元を見てびっくら。彼はドイツから来ていました。遠く,雪の降る国なのねえ・・・私のアトリエにはかわいいマスコット達が色々住んで居て、キャラクターデザインのアイデアをくれます。絵の鳥さんたちは私のimaginationです。
    Cheers, Sadami

  15. Dear Rhonda,
    Thank you! And I'm worried about you these days. Take it easy. A body and a heart need to gear up to work together = healthy. If you need a rest, rest well. Look forward to your biiig smiles and paintings.

  16. Dear Judy,
    Thank you! I do not need to be someone, but Sadami.

  17. Hi,Teresa,
    Oh, thank you! Ahahaha, yeah, I love snow!
    Very happy to know we can share this. Enjoy the book.
    BTW, how is your project going? I finally got yes for the SB. Ah, a short break and I'll tie up shoelaces.

    The right hand's trouble gets sever. I look forward to a surgery to get well.
    Thanks millions, let us make nice books for kids!!

    Love, Sadami

  18. Dear AK,
    Thank you for deep thoughts. Keep your own way. That's your style and your way to go.
    Kind regards, Sadami

  19. Dear Linda,
    Thank you for deep thoughts. Very happy to hear your proud claim. Enjoy the book. Blogging is good for networking. I hope your rich and wonderful encounters with others on net.
    Best wishes,Sadami

  20. Estimado Joshemari,
    Gracias por el comentario!
    Usted es tan bueno en los barcos, ¿no es así! Si es así, estoy seguro de que sabe cómo las ondas se mueven y cambian de color del mar. Sólo precisar que en el papel con la acuarela como lo hace la arquitectura o el paisaje.

    Y no tiene que preocuparse acerca de lo que dice Rilke. La punta de su decir es: "Sin el arte, no puedo vivir. Por lo tanto, soy un aritst". Por lo tanto, usted ya es un artista.

    Un fuerte abrazo, Sadami

    Dear Joshemari,
    Thank you for the nice comment!
    You are so good at ships, aren't you! If so, I'm sure you know how waves move and a sea change colours. Just pin down them on paper with watercolour like you do for architecture or landscape.

    And do not need to worry about what Rilke says. The point of his say is "Without art, I cannot live on. Therefore, I'm an aritst." So, you're already an artist.

    A big hug, Sadami

    Sadami, this watercolor of the waves is great. I really like the paint ... I do not know how to paint the waves, or cost me a lot! Congratulations.
    I am an artist? I do not know! I think not! I'm a fan of drawing and painting. That's it.
    The texts that accompany your drawings are difficult to interpret for me. I do not know English and the translation is not clear. Sorry.
    A big hug.

  21. Inspirational post and beautifully illustrated.
    Sadami, you have hit the nail on the head (I expect to see a picture of a hammer:) )
    We are artists because we must create. Opinions are just that, opinions. We are driven to create and if someone else enjoys the journey with us, be it for a short or long time, that's a bonus!
    love and hugs
    Pat xxoo

  22. A post full of wisdom, Sadami, I do lots of kisses, good week for you.

  23. Hi,Pat,
    Thank you! Yes, indeed. Without creative activities, we cannot live on. It's our response to life. Very happy to have met you in this journey!
    Love and hugs, Sadami

  24. Dear Lydie,
    Thank you. You, too, have a wonderful and creative week!!
    Lots of kisses, Sadami

  25. さだみさんへ

    google chrome のほうから、アプローチしました。

  26. Querido Sadami,
    eres un gran artista y tambien muy profundo en tus pensamientos. Si tuviera que definirme creo que no me consideraría artista, solo una persona que ama el arte y que tiene un enorme camino por recorrer. Lo que veo más claro es la diferencia entre el arte y el mercado del arte. Un abrazo

  27. Dear HaniHani,
    いいお話をありがとう!子供はおとなと違って社会の既成概念にとらわれない自由な発想するので楽しいですね。同感、人は教えると自分が学びます。私のmentor, Ann Jamesは教師生活が大変長かったので、とても上手に私に教えます。と言うか、さりげなく、リードします。そして、私がいつも最終判断者です。
    BTW, 苦労して入れてくれて ありがとう!でも、他のbloggersにもコメントを残すのに苦労してる人が居ます(*私のblogに宛てじゃないけど)。 Google に問題が有るのでしょう。去年すごかった。 私のblogのした、一番下の世界地図を見て下さい。あれが密やかにvisitorsを集計して居ります。 で、あの集計機能はblogを始めた時, 先輩イラストレーターが丁寧に教えて下さいました。 私は機械オンチで言語学教授にblogging勧められても二の足踏んで5年くらい考えて、調査の末、blogを始めました。だから、その、教授のblogが私のお手本なの。So, わたしのblogのコメントはそのまま即座に出ません eg) 他者への誹謗、広告、宗教、政治勧誘など。
    私はここを絵が好きな人が集まって,忙しい生活の中、 しばしくつろげる場所にできたら幸いだと思って居るの。
    Kind regards, Sadami

  28. Querido Tina,
    Grazie. Molto felice di condividere con voi la vista. Sì, un successo commerciale è un argomento diverso. Io dico sempre amici, "Hahaha, reqady a morire in povertà. Ma felice di morire in povertà, in possesso di un pennello e guardando il cielo!"
    Sono sicuro che ognuno di noi è un eroe e grande nella nostra vita in un modo unico e individuale.
    Cheers, wink wink, Sadami

    Dear Tina,
    Thank you. Very happy to share the view with you. Yes, a commercial success is a different topic. I always tell friends, "Hahaha, reqady to die in poverty. But happy to die in poverty, holding a brush and looking up a sky!"
    I'm sure each of us is a hero and great in our life in a unique, individual way.
    Cheers,wink wink, Sadami

    >>>Tina said...
    Dear Sadami,
    're a great artist and also very deep in thought. If I had to define myself I do not think I would consider myself an artist, just a person who loves art and has an enormous way to go. I see more clearly what is the difference between art and the art market. a hug

  29. Sadami san
    Yes, let's just enjoy ourselves.

    May I add to your post.... "Follow your bliss": If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

    Cheers, Evelyn

  30. Dearest Evelyn,
    Thank you for the beautiful quote. Like the quote, I'll follow bliss.
    Best wishes and big hugs,Sadami

  31. Great article! Thanks for reminding me on that amazing poet and writer... I'm looking forward to read the collection of letters you suggested! The only work by Rilke I know is the "notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, but I instantly fell in love with it.


  32. Hi,Stephan, thank you!
    Good on you! I did not get through, "notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge." Was it good? Unlike you, I could/can not read Rilke's original poems written in German. One day, you can read them out for me.
    Best wishes, Sadami

  33. ¡Excelentes trabajos, Sadami!
    Me ha encantado ese mar bravío.

  34. Thanks again for the impulse. I bought the book on my way home and instantly read it. Sometimes you come across a book that really touches you from the first page. "Letters to a Young Poet" is definitely one of those for me. It's incedible how sincere Rilke was to that young man.

    The Notebooks were great too. Some parts felt a bit "lengthy" but Rilke seems to continue a lot of interesting ideas from his letters (in form of a novel). Maybe you give it a try.


  35. Dear Juan,
    Thank you~~~!!!
    Cheers and hugs,Sadami

  36. Dear Stephan,
    Thank you! Very happy to know we can share inner treasures from the book. Yes, how sincere and matured Rilke(27yrs) to Kappus(19), which moves me. Rilke is financially poor, but how rich his inner world! Also, how dead honest Rilke to disclose his very private things to Kupps, that has touched me.

    OK, I'll try "Notebooks of Marte" later.
    Stephan, let us keep on our journies in art. Your blog and art is lovely. I'll send you my best wishes!

    Cheers, Sadami

  37. Such wise words, as always, Sadami. I find it gets easier to call oneself an artist after doing it for the first time - now so much easier after selling work!

    Your seascape is wonderful!

  38. Dear Gillian,
    Thank you for a kind visit! Sounds you're selling your paintings more!! Congratulations. Hope 2012 will be a wonderful year for you.
    Best wishes,Sadami

  39. Oh Sadami, Once again I am inspired by your post. I love to paint...some have been sold but the love I have for the arts...Well, it doesn't matter to me if I sell...I just love to wake up in the morning and wonder "What should I paint today?" Does that make me an Artist...? Yay!! I think it does.!

  40. Dear Hilda,
    Of course, you're an Artist! Your posts and paintings eloquently tell us, but above all, your love and enthusiasm for art tells yourself who you are!!

  41. another inspiring post with beautiful paintings! Thank you always for your encouragement. You are a good friend to all artists!

  42. Hi,Celeste,
    Thank you. You,too, are a good friend to all artists!~!

  43. Hi Sadami san,

    I'm getting email and I can read what you get from your blog frined's comments.
    That is really nice idea! Thanks.
    I can open your friend's blog and enjoy their art etc. It is so much fun,,,やねー。

  44. Dear HaniHani,
    Very happy for you! Yeah! I know! I'm enjoying your blog's comments, too. Great. Sooner or later, you'll become a UNIVERSALLY famous watercolourist. 私、楽しみに貴方のblogを見てます、が、良い子して黙って居ります。もう、時間の問題ですねえ。きっと貴方はソチラの歴史の教科書に出るわよおおおん。
    **私は裏が使えるのを,それも表はうまくいかなかったモノを別に溜めてるの。で、二度目のときは心おきなく使えるし、そのせいか案外面白い作品になって、ニンマリします。やっぱ、思いきりとのびのびした筆使いよねえ。子供がいいお手本です。明日はInternational Sketch Crawlだよん。そっちでも在るなら、やって見てね。
    Cheers,wink,wink, Sadami

  45. Dear Sadami,

    You will soon have your surgery, I think. I wanted to let you know my thoughts are with you and pray for a swift recovery. See, I am selfish and will miss my artist friend and her wise advice :-)

    Using Rilke's thoughts on the writer's life to help us determine if we are on the artist's path is brilliant. I know that my life is richer having returned to the drawing and painting I gave up on so many years ago. Writer? Artist? Because the answer is in our hearts, we can clam the title.

    All the best!


  46. Dear Nanina,
    Thank you so much and please never say something negative about yourself. You're a lovely lady and artist.
    Very happy to know you'll ponder about the quote. Just, if Rilke could encourage us, it would be wonderful. If is food for a brain, it would be lovely.
    All the best!

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