As an artist, I have heard the phrase, “I can’t even draw a stick figure”, enough times to know that most of us define an “artist” as someone who can draw the human figure in great detail, given that the stick figure seems to be the lowly basis of comparison.

As I see it, an artist is anyone who creates…and that pretty much refers to all of us. That being said, the common phrase, “I don’t have an artistic bone in my body”, doesn’t hold much water or weight for me either.

As Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist..the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Yes, Pablo, we ALL have the innate ability to create…but why should we?

In other words, Why Art?

For me, art has always been an escape…a place of solitude where I could retreat for hours before wondering where the time went. My dentistry was no different, and with little time for paints or pastels, the dental operatory became my art studio.

For many artists, art is not only a peaceful escape but rather a safe haven from the sadness and fear that, for them, would be otherwise unbearable.

As an art studio owner, I met many of these troubled artists. Simply put, their lives were saved by their Art.

Today, my art has returned to the paper, trading in my dental hand-piece for a paintbrush, my explorer for a pen, and once again manipulating the rich colors of soft pastels beneath my ungloved fingertips.

Outside the dental operatory, I can now allow myself the room, not for error, but for unexpected outcomes, embracing the creative process and enjoying the little surprises, so unwelcome then and appreciated now, for their contribution to the final product.

The current state of my art is an intended departure from the outcome expectations of my profession and the standards of perfection that I placed upon myself as a dentist and as an artist in general. Experimenting with new mediums and techniques, my art today is far more organic than the exact replicas I used to produce. And though my attention to detail has not waned, my art now takes me to destinations far more unknown than the art of dentistry ever did.

That’s why…I art.

Wishing you Peace, Art & Happiness,
Dr. Betty Orr

The works pictured here are “Zentangles”, inspired by mixed~media artist and friend Ann Marie Clarke. The art of Zentangle is a creative, meditative practice involving simple shapes and repeating patterns for calm and focus.

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