Gluttony means consuming way more than you need. And it’s a great way for the monkey to distract you from your creative path.

Walking through a museum and snapping a picture of each painting you pass, then hurrying on to the next. Signing up for classes, then never bothering to show up and do the work. Why start that painting when you and your credit card could while away the afternoon at the art supply store? Easier to amass more drying tubes of paint, teetering piles of empty sketchbooks, basket-loads of supplies for crafts you doesn’t have the time to master — than bypass the monkey and get to work.

Gluttony means valuing quantity over quality. And we live in times of more, more, more, where there’s always a new distraction, a new treat popping upon our phones. Why do they call it a Facebook feed, d’ya think? Because it stuffs our troughs with trivia, 24/7. We consume bytes instead of being in the moment and appreciating the wonder and beauty around us already. We are gluttonous with our time and yet stingy with it too, wasting it rather than investing it in the self-improvement and habits that can bring us the things that will truly satisfy our hungers.

Gluttony is a sin of lost control. Like Lust, it drives out of our minds, to places we don’t recognize in the mirror. We automatically grab for more entertainment, more stimulation, more consumption, faster, longer, all of which distract us from our purpose, our skills, our deepening experience as human beings. We are unable to ignore the buzz in our pockets, the dings on our night stands, we drool and reach and feast.

Creativity is about creating something new, adding to the world of beauty, not just taking and acquiring.

Gluttony stems from fear. We are afraid of exposing ourselves, standing naked as we are. Afraid of being vulnerable. We cloak ourselves in a thick protective layer of shopping bags from Abercrombie & Fitch, Dean & DeLuca or Windsor & Newton. We need distraction from our true selves, from loneliness, from inadequacy, from being who we are.

The solution is to make more, rather than take more. Pull your excess art supplies off the shelf and give them to your local public school. Turn off all electronics a day a week and fill your time with songbirds and wind. Unsubscribe from distraction and sign up for a healthy diet of starving artistry. It won’t kill you, it’ll fill your soul.

Second in a series on seven deadly creative sins.

23 thoughts on “The Sin of GLUTTONY”

  1. Songbirds and wind – WOW. You are masterful and I am shamed. Yet, I will go on to the next blog and kill at least 2 hours this morning. I’m sorry, but not enough. I guess that makes me really sorry, Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks once again, Danny, for your thoughtful words. I’m guilty. I’ve been using the excuse of transitoning for a long time now. This past spring I started hosting a journaling group once a week at my home and it has brought me together with some some very interesting and creative women, one of whom has started a white mountains hiking group and we’re heading off on our second hike tomorrow. I want to take my love of writing and drawing and people to another level, and I do have a supporting voice in my head that is saying, ” Just do it!” but I don’t. The right people will inspire and encourage us. I’ve opened myself up and met some really wonderful people recently. You inspire and encourage me. These days I’m seeking connection, authenticity and affirmation. If these things are present then I find the drawings flow more fluidly from my fingertips. The birds are active and the windchimes are singing…I think I’ll go draw.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Danny, I confess I have been an acquiring art junkie…classes and supplies. Although I’ll always choose SBS I am downsizing in other choices. Wow, your essay expresses exactly what I am currently doing…choosing quality over quantity. I’ve been doing Fall cleaning in the entire house and especially in my studio. I am de-cluttering and organizing my studio space. Yes, I have been giving away supplies I have been hoarding. For example, I was unaware I was hoarding postcards until I started this clean up. I bought postcard stamps and am going to start mailing them out. I am limiting time on the computer because it is difficult to create with all of that info overwhelming my mind. And I find if I start my morning on the computer then I have set my day up for reactive mode rather than creative mode. I am happy to report I don’t have the buzz in my pocket or the ding on my night stand, as I don’t have a cell phone. ..doubt if I ever will. Cheers-Darlene

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Danny. Your thoughts inspire me. I’m 66 and have spent my life doing this…………it’s like a hungry person hoarding food??????


  5. Very good!
    It’s a strong disease.
    It’s a big problem to me, cause I am a very curious person.
    I get lost in so much information, lose my time, and negligect my desire of making art.


  6. 5 more sins to go!! When I started paying attention to it, I was shocked by how much time I was spending online. I’ve had to really rein it in to just the 2 email accounts, Streetsy and your blog, plus any courses I’m in. Maybe a little YouTube. I never did Twitter and I’ve been off Facebook for years, both are content-free for me. Instead: Drink and Draw this Tuesday night at Otto’s Shrunken Head!! I’m a lightweight, so luckily there will be more figure drawing than drinking for me. Hopefully I ‘ll see you there or a few SBS students maybe.


  7. Wow. Guilty as charged (though increasingly less so), and/but wowed out of this guilt by your excellent post (and wowed by your immaculate, deeply moving writing):

    YES: “Gluttony stems from fear. We are afraid of exposing ourselves, standing naked as we are. Afraid of being vulnerable. […] We need distraction from our true selves, from loneliness, from inadequacy, from being who we are.”

    Indeed the solution is to make things, not stuff face with more existing stuff.

    Thank you for this très inspiring post!


  8. 100% true. Hadn’t read this when I emailed, sharing in part that what “I decided what I need is not more books but an all out drawing assault.” 🙂 Clearly on the same sketchbook page.


  9. Fear. Gluttony stemming from it.Hmm makes a lot of sense.
    Once in a while I like to read more than one of your articles to refuel ( whatever you call it )or see something new in old.
    Thank you very much


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