The Best Female Painters of All Time – Top 10

art, Thoughts

“There are no rules… that is how art is born, that is how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules, that is what invention is about.” 

– Helen Frankenthaler

Whether the brush stroke is wet-into-wet, feathering – or the art incorporates polka dots and mosaic elements; women painters have long been creating masterpieces. Some of the best female painters may not have been recognized initially because people didn’t see value in their work or simply couldn’t stand the competition, however, their vision, talent, and voice couldn’t remain in the shadows forever. The best female painters in the world have made their mark and this list will highlight 10 of the finest that you should know about!

  • Frida Kahlo
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Mary Stevenson Cassatt
  • Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun 
  • Yayoi Kusama
  • Hilma af Klint
  • Louise Bourgeois
  • Artemisi Gentileschi
  • Helen Frankenthaler
  • Laura Wheeler Waring
  1. Frida Kahlo  

Beauty and pain never looked so divine and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo harmonized the two so beautifully. She primarily used oil on copper to create deliberate and striking self-portraits and still lifes.

Frida Kahlo knew physical pain and emotional turmoil, which she used to fuel her artistic fire. Born July 6, 1907, in Coyoacán, Mexico. Frida produced roughly 200 small paintings that merge elements of fantasy, folklore, realism, symbolism, and surrealism to depict not only hauntingly sensual originals but relate fierce personal narratives as well. 

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often

alone; because I am the person I know best.”

-Frida Kahlo

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone because I am the person I know best,” she once said

Frida’s muralist husband Diego Rivera was instrumental in helping her hone the techniques she used in her paintings, which featured vibrant colors- reds and yellows- rooted in her rich Mexican tradition. 

She died in July 1954, after which her reputation soared. In 2000, her 1929 self-portrait, Portrait of a Lady in White, was sold at auction for over $5 million, further cementing her status as one of the best women painters in the world, 

2. Georgia O’Keeffe 

Among the greatest female painters is the mother of American modernism and the queen of abstract art Georgia O’Keeffe. Born in November of 1887, O’Keeffe made significant contributions to modern art.

Throughout her career she experimented with abstract art, focusing on composition colors, brush strokes, and shapes. 

However, she remained true to her love for nature, painting desert landscapes and flowers to exude the feeling it evoked in her.

Georgia ÕKeeffe Art in New Mexico | Museums & Tours | New Mexico True

“I had to create an equivalent for

what I felt about what I was looking at –

not copy it.”

– Georgia O’ Keeffe

Over time and through the influential ideas of American painter Arthur Wesley Dow, who advocated simplifying forms, Georgia O’Keeffe developed her style, fusing abstraction with realism. She continued painting up until her death at 98 years old.

3. Mary Stevenson Cassatt

Mary is one of the best female painters of all time and is considered the only American impressionist painter to have exhibited her work with the impressionists in Paris.

Her depictions of family life, particularly the bonds between mothers and children set her apart from other painters. 

Mother and Child in Boat, 1908 (oil on canvas), Cassatt, Mary Stevenson (1844-1926)

Formal training didn’t appeal to Mary and she primarily educated herself and was influenced by the works of influential painters Edouard Manet and Gustave Courbet, and Diego Velázquez.

She also had a close working relationship with Edgar Degas who became her mentor and whose pastel work she admired. After coming across some of Degas’ pastels in a shop window, it made an impression on her.

“It changed my life! I saw art then as I wanted to see it.” 

Mary showcased her first Impressionist work in the U.S, the 1878 painting, In the Loge, a depiction of her modern woman.

In the Metropolitan Museum is the Havemeyer Collection; to which Mary was an invaluable contributor. She died in 1926.

4. Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun 

Eighteenth-century turbulence in Paris, France, and obstacles to women’s advancement did not deter the self-taught, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun from pursuing her art, which has landed her in the top 10 women painters category. 

Élisabeth was accepted into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1783, becoming the fourth female member with the help of Queen Marie-Antoinette.

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Self-Portrait with her Daughter, Julie, 1789, oil on canvas, (Musée du Louvre).

Her painting, Peace Restoring Abundance helped contribute to her recognition. She was the queen’s official artist and painted more than two dozen portraits of her. Élisabeth is known for her sympathetic portraits of the aristocracy.

Élisabeth fled during the French Revolution, but commissions from European nobility and royalty for portraits kept coming. Of the war and its impact on her art, she said, “But I could now paint no longer; my broken spirit, bruised with so many horrors, shut itself entirely to my art.

I could now paint no longer; my broken spirit, bruised with so many horrors, shut itself entirely to my art.

– Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun

It’s believed that Elizabeth produced some 600+ paintings throughout her lifetime. She died in Paris in 1842.

5. Yayoi Kusama

One cannot talk about the greatest female artists without mentioning the Japanese painter, Yayoi Kusama, who is affectionately called ‘the princess of polka dots. 

Yayoi recalls how as a little girl she experienced a hallucination that was freakish and frightening. Pictures this: talking polka dot flowers that were everywhere. This hallucination left her feeling what she described as ‘self-obliterating’. These dots became a prominent feature in her paintings. 

Yayoi recalls how as a little girl she experienced a hallucination that was freakish and frightening- of talking polka dot flowers that were everywhere. The hallucination left her feeling what she described as ‘self-obliterating’.

Yayoi Kusama | Biography, Art, Infinity Mirrored Room, Pumpkin, & Facts | Britannica

‘Polka dots are a way to infinity. When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environment.”

Although her mom destroyed her canvas in an attempt to discourage her, she continued with her art and eventually left Japan and made it to New York, where in 1959, her art was on display in various exhibits. Yayoi voluntarily checked herself into a psychiatric hospital in Tokyo in 1977, where she is a resident to this day.

6. Hilma af Klint 

The Swedish painter Hilma af Klint is a part of an elite group of females who are the best women painters in the world. The abstract painter began producing radical abstract paintings in 1906, that were vibrant, colorful, and out of this world.

Born in Stockholm in 1862, Hilma was a medium that was involved in spiritualism and Theosophy (any of a number of philosophies maintaining that a knowledge of God may be achieved through spiritual ecstasy, direct intuition, or special individual relations, especially the movement founded in 1875 as the Theosophical Society by Helena Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott (1832–1907).

Her abstract paintings can be described as occult-inspired and magical-looking.

She was called a crazy witch and between 1906-1915, she produced 193 paintings known as the Paintings for the Temple. Hilma explained that the pieces were painted “through” her with divine “force” saying, 

“I had no idea what they were supposed to depict… I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke.” 

– Hilma af Klint
Group IX/SUW, The Swan, No. 1 (1915) by Hilma af Klint | The Guggenheim Museum

“I had no idea what they were supposed to depict… I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke.” 

Before her death in 1944, she instructed her heir to keep her abstract paintings from public viewing until 20 years after her passing.

Her work was first seen in public in the 1986 Los Angeles show The Spiritual in Art. Hilma only received widespread recognition as a pioneering abstract painter when the Guggenheim Museum hosted a major survey of her work from October 2018 to April 2019 titled “Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future.” 

7. Artemisia Gentileschi 

Artemisia Gentileschi is in this top 10 women painters category because she is a pioneering Italian painter whose paintings reflect historical-art innovation.

Some speculate that her traumatic past -surviving rapeperhaps fueled her inspiring works of art and have characterized her paintings as autobiographical. Her paintings are also dramatic with a level of sensitivity in how color is handled and the female form is depicted.

She’s arguably the best female painter of the 17th century, with paintings that reflect the stories of women, including ambition, motherhood, and passion.

She paints herself as a woman completely in charge.

Self-Portrait as a Lute Player by Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi, is an oil on canvas from 1616-18 with dimensions 77.5 × 71.8 cm. The painting is housed in the Wadsworth Atheneum collection in Connecticut, USA.

“As long as I live, I will have control of my being.” 

– Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisa is the first to portray sexual predation in “Artemisia Gentileschi: The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art.

She was a champion of the oppressed woman and her dramatic Baroque paintings reflected that position. Artemisia admired Caravaggio and her art was heavily influenced by him and she became recognized for her realism and use of chiaroscuro. The exact date of her death remains a mystery.

8. Louise Bourgeois 

Born in Paris in 1911, Louise Bourgeois was not formally linked to a particular artistic movement, but exhibited her work with the abstract expressionists of her time, like Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock.

The themes in her paintings were dramatic and sensitive, such as anger, jealousy, abandonment loneliness, sexuality, and unconsciousness. This modern contemporary figure is one of the greatest female artists whose work often reflected her own experiences or was inspired by her memories and was emotionally charged.

“My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.” 

– Louise Bourgeois

Louise has stated, “My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.” She had her first solo exhibition of paintings in New York in 1945 at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery. Louise was more than just a painter and also became known for her large-scale sculptures. She died at the age of 98 in 2010.

9. Helen Frankenthaler 

Helen Frankenthaler has long been recognized as one of the best women painters in the world and a great American painter of the twentieth century. This American abstract painter is widely credited for being instrumental in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting.

She developed the soak-stain technique (thin washes of pigment that soak into the fibers of the untreated canvas), which expanded how abstract painting could be presented.

“There are no rules… that is how art is born, that is how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules, that is what invention is about.” 

– Helen Frankenthaler

“There are no rules… that is how art is born, that is how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules, that is what invention is about.” 

Born in 1928, Helen’s professional exhibition career kicked off in 1950 with her painting, Beach (1950) in the exhibition titled Fifteen Unknowns: Selected by Artists of the Kootz Gallery. A year later, she had her first solo exhibition in New York’s Tibor de Nagy Gallery.

Helen’s true inspiration came not only from her contemporaries but from the “old masters” as well. She died in December 2011 at age 83 after an illustrious career, cementing herself as one of the best female painters of all time.

10. Laura Wheeler Waring

Among the best female painters is Connecticut-born African American artist Laura Wheeler Waring. Born in May of 1887, she was displayed in the USA’s first exhibition of African American Art in 1927.

Laura Wheeler Waring is renowned for her portraits of prominent African Americans made during the Harlem Renaissance and her beautiful landscape paintings.

She studied the works of master painters like Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Édouard Manet, and Claude Monet, which influenced her style achieved through vibrant and realistic techniques, with an emphasis on light, vivid colors, and atmosphere.

While she studied romanticism and impressionism, she leaned towards realism. Some of the portraiture subjects included Mary White Ovington, W.E.B. DuBois, and James Weldon Johnson. She was also an art educator for over 30 years. She died in 1948.

Laura Wheeler Waring, “The Study of a Student” (ca. 1940s) | PAFA

These 10 greatest female artists have left their mark on the art world and should be celebrated for their achievements.

This is just a small number of female painters, which hopefully piques your interest to explore more women painters and artists in general. Happy discovery!

Siphon: A Poem

Poetry
Reciprocate. 
Reciprocal. 
Reciprocity. 

These don’t exist for me. 
Wearied of investing time. 
How can it even be measured? 
Going above and beyond. 
Sublime. 
Transcendence. 

It’s all a lie. 
There is not a second to waste. 
Waste. 
No purpose. 
Carelessly giving time away. 
Every day. 

Have you learned anything? 
Probably not. 
Ego says.
I thought I did. 
Who can I kid? 
No one. 
Just myself. 

Credulous. 
Once again. 
Down the rabbit hole. 
I spin, and I spin. 
Into this cycle. 
Whirling into another world. 

Where I give and I give. 
Nothing is returned. 
Not that I expect it. 
I’ve learned long ago that nothing should be. 
Expected. 

But here I twirl. 
Dizzier than ever. 
The mind is clouded. 
It makes me sick. 

Tit for tat. 
Nope. Never that. 
I don’t get it. 
Reciprocate. 
Do the same. 
Retaliate. 
Interchange. 


Soul swindlers. 
Empathy embezzlers. 
Purloining pretenders.
Spirit siphoners. 

Greedily draining.
Until nothing is left. 

Tragedies As A Catapult

Experiences, Psychology, Thoughts

Endings almost always lead to beginnings. In my experience, it seems that way. There’s been a few times in my life where something ending has put me on a completely different path, leading me to brand new and often exciting experiences. Whether these endings came in the form of relationships, jobs, or even the deaths of loved ones, they transformed me as an individual in their own different ways. Each experience contributed to the web that is my life.

Tragedies and new beginnings are often interwoven like an intricate web of fibers bearing all different kinds of colors.

Tragedies and new beginnings are often interwoven like an intricate web of fibers bearing all different kinds of colors. Each color and each fiber represent a different aspect of life. Life has this way about it that can leave us confused, questioning everything, or really trying to find our purpose. Ironically, its counterpart, Death, leaves us wondering many of the same things.

Part of our purpose, I believe, is to learn and grow while we are here on earth. We cannot grasp new ideas and flourish if we do the same routine things every day of our life. That must be why we suffer tragedies and have pain and sorrow. It must be why, right? Without these tragedies would we truly be ourselves? Who would be? We become stronger and more resilient with each new beginning that is presented to us by a tragedy. 

In my last post, I discussed grief and people who I’ve lost that have impacted my life tremendously. When thinking of them, there is someone who I lost that comes to mind specifically, and losing this person really was a catapult for me to enter into a new beginning. After experiencing such a devastating loss, I was transformed.

In a way, I entirely reshaped my existence and what I’ve done with my time. The tragedy was my catapult to start endless amounts of creation in the form of art and writing, and just simply living my life the exact and precise way that I wanted to; with absolutely nothing holding me back.

There is another time when a friend and I were on separate paths in life for about seven or eight years. We did not speak for the entire duration of those years. Something magical happened that suddenly brought us together, and from that tragedy (separation), we were able to start a new beginning. The fibers of our webs once again became intertwined, thus causing a new bond. New beginnings are quite possibly one of my favorite things. I even have a tattoo dedicated to such meaning. Similar to the balance of darkness and light, fortune and misfortune are opposite yet closely related. There is an awakening that happens with new beginnings, like the break of dawn after a long dark night. You cannot have one without the other. Maintaining balance is important. 

There have been plenty of times where I’ve had a fresh start. One of the most recent situations I can recall where I’ve had to “start over” was after getting married in a rush, and then getting divorced. When I think of it now, it seems so ridiculous. The choice I made could be considered a mistake. However, if I did not choose to get married, and then go through a divorce, I would certainly not be where I am now. So like those little colorful fibers are woven into the web of my life, how could this be a mistake? The divorce led me to another new beginning and I’m now at a point in my life where I know exactly who I am mentally and spiritually, and exactly where I’m going. Gratitude for the entirety of the situation is a complete understatement of my feelings. Whereas, before, I was just kind of going through the motions of life and not exactly sure about anything. I was still learning how to be me. This tragedy that I suffered through, and the fact that I went through my own depression was absolutely worth it. I wouldn’t wish the pain on anyone, or the confusion, or just downright nastiness of what I’d experienced, but everything that has happened has made me such a better person than I was before. 

Breathe. It will all work out in the end. 

In my experience, when things don’t work out it is a sign that things are actually working out. It may sound kind of crazy or silly, but I promise it is true. Some doors are just meant to be closed, and that is okay. In one of my favorite books, by Icelandic author Gunnar Andri, something he said in the book has stood out in my mind for several years now. “When one door closes, another opens. And sometimes many of them open at the same time.” Correct! I do agree with him on this statement, as well as much of the wisdom inside of his book. (5/5 stars, I definitely recommend)  

And when those doors do open, taking the opportunity to walk through them can seem frightening or challenging. The thing is, with a new start, you must not be afraid. Of course, being scared of change or doing something new is a natural human emotion. Humans don’t like change. It’s been proven. Sometimes though, change is exactly what we need. A new path is given to us at the worst time, which in reality often can be the best time. There have been so many positive things that have happened to me since my divorce or other designated tragedies, and I recall the feeling of starting new friendships and relationships with other people after these terrible situations happened. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I truly do believe that if the tragedies didn’t happen, I really wouldn’t be on the path I am now. It’s an amazing feeling.

If you’re ever feeling like you are living in total despair, or you just simply can’t move on from a situation or a certain someone, I’m here to tell you that you certainly can. It’s absolutely possible. When your tragedy hits, surely there will be flowers that will bloom shortly after. 

Things to Remember: 

  1. Don’t be scared to end something 
  2. Don’t be nervous about experiencing your own tragedy (It will make you stronger)
  3. Don’t be intimidated about trying something new 
  4. Do try to meet new people, learn from them
  5. Change is a good thing sometimes 
  6. Take every opportunity presented to you (It’s there for a reason)
  7. Find your balance between dark and light 
  8. Remember that everything will work out in the end 
  9. Tragedies and new beginnings are interwoven; everything is connected

New beginnings can be hard, and learning something new that you’ve never done before certainly can be a challenge. In the garden of your life, just make sure to tend to the flowers that bloom after the storm; not the weeds.

 

Grief: An Honest Confession

Experiences, Psychology

Grief: An Honest Confession 

There have been two times in my life where I’ve been absolutely ashamed of the last words I said to someone before they died. Two different people. Two different occasions. When I think about my actions, I feel a burning inside of myself that represents shame, embarrassment, and pain. I think to myself of how wrong I truly was and how utterly disappointed I am for allowing myself to say such words and have those words be the very last things I’d say to those people before they died.

 A younger version of me was angry, spiteful, and I felt like an outcast. Sure, I had plenty of reasons to be mad considering the lifestyle I was in, but it did not give me a right to speak how I did. I was miserable at the way my life was and I had nothing to lose and zero shame whatsoever in many of my life choices including my word usage. 

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Thankfully now, I realize the power of words. Words are magic after all, and that’s why it’s important to be extremely careful with them. I absolutely despise ending phone calls and conversations on a bad note. It makes me very uncomfortable considering the experiences mentioned above, which still bother me today. I try to avoid confrontation now unless heavily provoked, because there’s that little voice in the back of my mind, saying, “Hey. Don’t be an ass. Remember what happened before?”. Yes, I say to my conscience and myself. Yes, I remember. I dislike ending things on bad terms. If things must end now, I try to say, “I wish you all the best.” Inside of myself, I simply cannot bear losing another person to this mysterious creature called death, and having my last words to them be something terrible. I’m trying to really work on it now in my adult life. I think much of being an adult is self-improvement anyway, so this is just another area to focus on.

I have now tried to instill this belief in my child as well. Never go to bed angry, never say rude last words. You may never know when or if you will see someone again. Even if you are mad at someone, you should not say something you will regret if the worst were to happen. It can literally eat you alive for years. Trust me, I would know. 

Never go to bed angry and never say rude last words.

The first time I remember grief as a feeling was when I was about 4 years old. Maybe it was not so much grief, but disappointment. My grandpa was sick and I overheard my parents talking about it in the kitchen. My dad was planning to fly to the West Coast to see him because they had a feeling he would pass soon considering his condition and he was not doing so well. My brother was about 2 years old at the time, and for some reason, my dad took my brother on the trip. I remember telling my dad that I wanted to go, and my 4-year-old logic was: “What if this is the last time I see grandpa?”. Naturally, I was brushed off and my parents told me not to worry.

Shortly after the trip, my grandpa passed away and I remember the feeling of disappointment, grief, the satisfaction of being right, and anger because my dad did not allow me to go on the trip. It was one of the first times I can truly remember such a whirlwind of emotions. A short time later, my maternal grandfather died, and I vividly remember that too. 

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

I’m pretty familiar with death. I’ve even written a Letter to Death before. There have been quite a few deaths that have impacted me like I’ve run face-first into a poll on the street because I’m looking down at my phone instead of looking up. Boom! Now my head hurts, and I’m trying to figure out what the hell just happened. I don’t speak about it often, but my dad passed when I was a teenager. My first love died several years ago. Most recently, I lost a very good friend who was more genuine than anything at all. She was incredibly supportive and one of the people in my life who was supportive for no reason at all. People who support you, for no reason are the most special. They don’t ask for anything in return. They just truly want to see you happy and succeed – yeah, she was one of those; a rare gem to find in this day and age for sure. I love and miss her greatly. 

People who support you for no reason are the most special.

The death that hit me hardest was losing my high school sweetheart. Even though we were not together when he passed it shook me terribly and then and only then did I realize how much I did love him still. When he died, my world changed forever. I questioned everything about my life at that moment. I even questioned the love I had for the person who I had just married. Sometimes, it takes losing someone for you to truly realize how deeply they made an impression on you and your life.

Sometimes, it takes losing someone for you to truly realize how deeply they made an impression on you and your life.

That old saying, “You don’t know what you got til’ it’s gone.”, is more true than I can ever describe. I cried for two years after he died. Sometimes it was spontaneous. The pain I felt from losing him is the worst grief I’ve ever felt in my life. I remember some nights just sitting at the edge of my bed and crying, and just screaming into my pillow. His words would echo in my mind. “Let’s go to Naples, baby.”, I’d hear him say. I’d dream of him often and sometimes I still do. In my dreams, we fight like lovers. Like we once did. I tell him, “Okay, I have to go now. Come on, let’s go”. He sits near the windowsill and looks outside at the rain. His sketchbook is in his hand and he is drawing, just like I remember him. He looks at me, annoyed, “Kim”, he sighs, “You know I can’t go back with you. I have to stay here.” A couple of times, he asked me to stay, but I told him I have far too much to complete here in this realm yet. He understands, and occasionally we meet up still. If you know me, you know who I’m speaking about and I’ve spoken of him before. Rob was one the most influential people in my life, and somehow, in some ways he still is. 

After his death I did anything and everything to connect with him. He was an artist, a writer, a poet, a spoken word lyrical genius, and he made music. He was so creative, and I loved him. He called me his muse. The irony of that is after he passed, he would become a muse of sorts to me, if the definition we use is: a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist; instead of the mythological definition. I created so much art. I started writing more. I became inspired to make it my personal mission to not let creativity die, in my own world and that of everyone else’s too. 

When we lose someone we love sometimes these magical things happen where our life is forever changed, but it’s not all bad. We become more caring, hopeful, or optimistic in some respect. We remember them. We learn to love differently. We learn to be more kind to ourselves and to people around us. When comparing Rob’s death to one of my friends who passed recently, there are certainly differences in emotion and feeling but the impact they made on my life will forever be unforgettable. Through every loss we experience, we also gain something. It’s almost like a trade of emotion and energy.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Through every loss we experience, we also gain something.

When losing friends in this life, we gain them in another, or in a spiritual realm, or hall – whatever it is that you believe. Having those people in my life helped shaped me for sure, but also by not losing them, would I be who I am now? Probably not.  Death is another human experience in which we learn and grow. After everything that has happened, it is easy for me now to look at death in a different way than I did say 10 or 15 years ago. Do you think there is any goodness associated with death? Can death be seen from an optimist perspective? Or is that only achievable after you have recovered from all stages of grief? If you take anything from this post, I hope it’s that you always remember to never go to bed angry, and never say a harsh last word.

Street tacos outside of the Foster the People show at the Aragon Ballroom, Dec 2017 – “Kim n’ Rob”

Inspiration and Contributions

Experiences, Thoughts

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”

Maya ANGELOU

I am a bit behind on my writings this week! Normally, I post by Wednesday or Thursday, but this week it has been so busy for me. Finally, I’m at ease and am able to get my words down on this “paper”. 

This week I’ve been thinking about kindness, inspiration, and the good and the bad of life. Each day I have to log on to my browser on my desktop for work, school, and everything else. Whenever I log on, the browser is filled will all kinds of terrifying and depressing stories filled with misery and shock. It makes me crazy if I look too long, so sometimes I head over to this website and look at GOOD NEWS Stories because I despise looking at only bad ones. In fact, watching the news is not allowed in my house! (Before you call me a warden, realize it’s just me, my kid, and the cats.) Most of the news on mainstream news channels is all trash anyway and is weakening the minds of all of us. Never do I ever recall in my life hearing a “good news” story on the 5:00pm news. Do you? In a book I read once, the author broke down how much time we waste by watching the news, and how much more of that time could be used to be productive. Considering I gave up on the news when I was 17 years old, I felt proud to know that my viewpoints aligned with the author in that respect. (And much else of what he said, to be fair.)

As an example let’s do some quick math similar to what the author wrote in the book.

30 minutes of news per day x 5 days a week = 150 minutes of watching news

150 minutes per week x 4 weeks = 600 minutes of watching news per month

600 minutes = 10 hours per month

10 hours per month x 12 months = 120 hours per year

Now if you add in watching both the morning and evening news, you are going to double your numbers in the above equations. Imagine wasting 240 hours per year watching the news.

Photo by Danya Gutan on Pexels.com

Crazy to think about, isn’t it? I feel bad for those that do! If you do, and you are shocked reading the numbers, congratulations this will be the beginning of your new life and a new routine. What can we do with 120-240 hours per year instead of watching the news? We can work on ourselves, our community, our passions, our family dynamics, and hobbies. So back to my main topic – good news and bad news. Positivity vs. negativity. Inspiration and contributions!

Positivity seems to be a recurrent theme on social media these days. Often we post pictures or quotes that have to do with being positive or inspirational. I too am guilty of posting this kind of content. Not that there is anything wrong with it at all – because there really isn’t. Whether we practice what we preach is up to us entirely as individuals. But as the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts.” Right? When we post these quotes or images on social media, is it just for likes, or is it because we actually want to inspire others? Chances are, it’s the latter. Something I’ve posted recently was an inspirational quote by Bruce Lee, and with the quote, I attached an image that also had a quote by Maya Angelou. The two quotes posted were: 

“Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.” – Bruce Lee 

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” – Maya Angelou 

These two quotes are not only true but also legendary considering who said them. Reposting these quotes is a contribution of sorts and gives a little spark of hope to those who read them. Isn’t that the end goal of sharing these things on social media? It’s like when you read them, you feel a passion or some wonderful sentiment that was not there just seconds before. You feel the emotion behind it. You feel the spark and want to share that spark with other people. Misery loves company or so they say, but I think inspiration does also. 

Through my writing and freelance work, I definitely feel like I help people much more and that I’m making positive contributions to the world. Some of my side gigs also give me that same feeling. I’m no stranger to getting paid to pick up groceries for the elderly or give people a ride when they need it in exchange for cash. Time is money of course, but I also feel good when I’m helping people who actually need help – and getting paid for it. The same thing goes for when I help companies write or edit articles and blog posts, or when I help my clients with their website needs. I love to do it, and I enjoy helping them while I can also have some sort of creative freedom. These are all contributions I make to my life, and my community through my work. Inspiration is one of the driving factors behind such actions.

One time several winters ago, I stopped at a local grocery store near my friend’s house to make a run for some alcohol and munchies. It was the month of January and the temperatures were below freezing. Seeing a homeless woman outside of the store asking for food broke my heart. I’ve never talked about this until now, but I bought a bunch of extra food, including a warm pre-made meal, and gave it to her. Could this also be considered an act of inspiration? I believe so. Random acts of kindness, positivity, and inspiration are just good for us and our mental and physical health. 

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Thinking of situations that are on the giving spectrum, I’ve donated several times to archeological foundations and nature/wildlife foundations. The feelings that prompted me to do so were because these are things that I strongly care about. These are things that trigger my emotion, want, and need to help contribute to my community and earth.

When it comes to contributing to my family, or friends, often I’m putting them before myself. My kid and my fur babies always come first, and for my true friends, I try to be there for them at the drop of a dime. Spending time teaching my son new things, expanding his education by getting him new books, or showing him a new hiking trail is something I consider to be a good contribution to his life. With friends, you might see me trying to make plans with them, or help them through their problems. 

I’m not perfect in any way, and I do not try to be. Even as an adult I’m still trying to practice acts of kindness, gratitude, and contributions of inspiration to myself, my family, and of course my friends. In many ways, I don’t think I’m someone to be setting examples for others, but if I’m in the spotlight to do so my main focus would be practicing to be more understanding and patient with myself and the people who are around me. I believe I do a good job, but there is always room for improvement with anything and everything!

When it comes to inspiration – what inspires you? What inspires you deeply and what inspires you to contribute to the world around you? Always remember – there is good news in the world. Sometimes it is up to us to be that good news.

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I Didn’t Need Art

Poetry
I didn't need art. 

I watched you draw for hours. 

Sketch. 

Pause. 

Eat. 

Play a beat. 

Under the sheets. 

Smoke and sleep. 

Wake up and repeat. 

I didn't need art. 

I had you. 

You were the art. 

Cliché af. 

The beat of my heart. 

You were the dance. 

You were the rhythm. 

You were the sound 

Of the pencil on a pad. 

You were the one. 

That I always had. 

You said I was the Muse. 

You left me here alone and 

Now you are my Muse. 

Even in death. 

I'm just a lady now who 

Sings the blues. 

Once you left, 

I just couldn't cope. 

I see you all the time and 

Ask you why you had to go. 

You are annoyed with me 

Because I keep asking you to leave

And come back. 

Even when you tell me you can't. 

I didn't need art. 

You were the one. 

The one I was fixated on for so long. 

The one who I 

Didn't know what I had 

Until you were physically gone. 

I knew what I had. 

I take that back. 

I'm never understanding why 

We had to be on such separate paths. 

But it's okay. 

It is clearly fate.

I know you are waiting for me. 

My inspiration, 

I miss you. 

You're sitting near the window sill,

Looking out as you sketch what's out 

Below. 

I didn't need art, I needed you. 

Now that you're not here 

I fear 

I may O.D. 

Severely 

On the intake of my doses 

Of Humanities. 

But it's as close as 

I can get to you.

But it doesn't give me the same fill. 

Now I need art.  

Until we meet again. 

Pen in hand. 

Prophets and poets. 

Cooking up the most

Lyrical recipes, never bland. 

Never going to stop. 

It's us and you know it.