Why do we have so much guilt around ‘indulging’ in art?

Ironically, delving into our creative uniqueness is one of the core primal practises that can bring our lives into harmony – but we often stop ourselves even beginning, because there’s this sense of ‘I shouldn’t’ around making art.

It might be the sensuousness, or the fact we’re simply taking the time to do something deeply personal. But the most common aspect that stops us dead in our tracks, before or after we actually get a brush mixing up colours, is guilt – that sense of being ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ for trying.

This ‘wrongness’ is something that a creative could struggle with literally for decades; it comes from a deep place, when we were being programmed as children into believing that teacher/ parent/ older sibling or peer is right, and we are not – and we should shut up and do as we are told.



This cycle of what is essentially a potent abusive dynamic, is put in place when we’re just setting foot into the wider world outside of our home. If it doesn’t get drummed into us in our first school, it certainly will when we go on to the second phase, where by now most of the kids will be implementing the power hierarchy alongside the teachers.

Guilt takes multiple forms as we evolve in our lives – if we don’t attend to it, take care of ourselves, nurture our inner landscape, it might eventually become so compacted and atrophied, that it’ll raise up and shout to be heard – it’ll become a monster, instead of a  symbiotic garden.

So the creative’s work is to listen, express, make sense of, and transform all guilt. We can use it as a compass, even; wherever there is an ‘I feel bad’ around our creative activity, we should face it and ask it – what would it feel like if I didn’t feel bad?



What art, pleasure, indulgent activities do, is they connect us to our core – to our source of power, and thus to our ability to e.g. harvest energy, be inspired, create ingenious and beautiful things…

The system, consumerism and materialism, work on the fact that we’re NOT connected to our core, and all that free energy and deep satisfaction and enjoyment.

Our culture is constructed on our neuroses and guilt, and our superficial needs, which are hyped up into a frenzy, so that we’re always looking ‘out there’ for a solution, when the answer’s right here, inside each and every single one of us.


the whole voice

THE WHOLE VOICE – large painting on old table-top, in acrylic, oil pastel, pencil

If you’d like to know a great deal more about how to access your core creative power, and to juice your life up into the good life, join me via the links below.


As ever, thank you so much for your support and your interest in my work…

Tantissime belle cose, 




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  1. karen says:

    To me guilt in the world comes from this idea that a real job has nothing to do with being creative, this false perception, to be creative means possible laziness, unproductive to society, etc. This is not only wrong but dangerous to your well being, physical health and mental health and I see the damage it has caused in people, so much stress. If we got back to creativity a lot of our anxiety and stress would go away. Doing anything creative reduces stress it is therapuetic. Did you know that guilt is the number one reason for depression. There is bad guilt that condemn’s and good guilt that let’s us know we have sinned. Let go of the bad guilt and be creative!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. poompah says:

    Two things I really like a lot about this months podcast Clare: the message and this amazing artwork! Just about my favourite piece of yours now, I believe.
    I love the colours and scribblyness and the way you worked the gold (leaf?). Her smile has such a perfect form — SO deeply peaceful, contented and unshakeable. The little bits of colour you worked into the lips. Perhaps I am beginning to understand how much attention you put into your artwork, and how everything conveys some part of the message in its own little perfect way. Wonderful, rich and deep. I want one!
    And a great podcast — yes we are so taught to be *fucked-up functional* as you say. We are *shaped* and at the same time crushed by our schools and betrayed by our peers. I was told that art or otherwise being creative was *not necessary* for me at school. I was *too clever* and should go study science at University. I know why they said it, and there is some element of truth in what was said — but not a whole truth. I wanted to learn about how life worked (true) and was supported in that — but everything else was shattered. All those other bits that also needed expression were trashed.
    When you describe the feelings from this process as guilt & shame I do agree, and I would add there is also a lot of FEAR, at least for me. The sum of all those *that won’t work* or *don’t do that (or something bad will happen)* moments, perhaps.
    I actually underwent Primal Therapy to deal with what you talk of here. It was quite tough and for sure there is more in there that needs some attention — but it DID start a process of loosening up the knots and restrictions built into me from very young. It also woke me up to all the stuff going on inside my body and not fear it or think of it as just useless emotional
    Oh my! I want to say more — but also don’t want to cloud the very inspiring words you have gifted here. Perhaps it is enough to say — I have decided to support you on Patreon, even if only a little. Please keep doing what you are doing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • claregallowayartist says:

      Your response really moved me, Paul – there is so much juicy truth in it, and I love to hear others’ dialogue interweave with what my own work reveals – it has been a huge leap for me to begin talking from my core about such things, and a hugely rewarding moment to read your brilliant words…. 🙂 joy.

      The Whole Voice painting is also a favourite of mine now 🙂 I think I was always aware that this elusive peace and potency of the deep feminine was going to show herself in my artwork eventually, and all the hard work is paying off now, as she is coming more and more into pictures and words. Thank you so much for seeing what you see,and for expressing it. I love that you talk about your primal therapy – this is a field of great interest for me, that I know little about…

      I am so honoured to also have you join me on Patreon, thank you from my heart – I so look forward to being in touch there! And if you ever feel a strong pull to a painting, please remember that Patreon gives you special privileges and prices – we can organise a long-term payment, too. 🙂

      So much good energy and happy day to you, Clare 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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