There are certain people who make all the difference in an artist’s life. Their support is crucial but they rarely get a mention. The unsung heroes, you might say…
Yes, and it’s often said that artists themselves are a moody, wayward, hypersensitive, unpredictable, petulant bunch of mortals – and maybe they are – but they have one thing that marks them out as different from the average citizen. They have patrons who support them!
Now I’m not talking about Medici type patrons, people with vast wealth and power. I’m just talking about ordinary decent citizens who understand the significance of the arts and would like to support its production and to share it within their families.
This kind of support has a profound effect on the artists. It’s not about the sales – it’s about the affirmation. It encourages them to continue to strive for elusive goals, to work with pigment and brush (or some other means) to create something unique, something that might be difficult to express in words, something about the human spirit…
The artworks featured on this post are all works of mine that have found good homes down through the years. I am indebted to all these patrons whose support was especially important to me.
But I also want to mention the Golden Fleece Award here, an award that was established as a charitable bequest by the late Helen Lillias Mitchell. Lillias was a teacher and an artist all through her life, painting and sketching actively until her 80s and exhibiting regularly at the Irish Watercolour Society. She was also an Honorary Member of the RHA.
In her ‘Letter of Wishes’ to the trustees, she wrote: “”It has always been my wish that those with talent be encouraged to develop their talents, particularly in Ireland … I am very conscious of the fact that many artists cannot develop their talents because their art does not bring in a steady income for them and yet they need to support themselves financially … My wish is to give artists a ‘boost’ in times of particular need…”
And that’s what I’m talking about – giving artists a ‘boost’. You patrons out there might not think it but you really are an integral part of the creative process.
Go raibh míle maith agaibh!
There was a nice feature on Lyric FM radio recently about Helen Lillias Mitchell, an interview with the poet Geraldine Mitchell (one of her nieces) and with Golden Fleece award winner Cecilia Moore. The podcast can be heard here (under March 16th, 2018)
PS – have you considered buying a work of art yourself? Let me know how you got on. See the Comments section down below.