When I was young, I liked to think I was creative – an artistic type. Who remembers the books that would teach you to draw things? They’d start you with simple shapes, add a few more simple shapes and then voila. . .a pony! If you don’t remember, or if you do and want to reminisce, you can find one of my favorites right here. I might have actually learned something if I had actually followed the steps, but I (and I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this) would just whip out some tracing paper and copy the final step. Man I was good. Mine looked JUST like the one in the book. Duh.
It made sense, I was a math/science kid. It’s hard to be both. Our logical, rational brains need symmetry and order. And I’m not saying that symmetry and order don’t have a place in art. They are very pleasing to the eye. However, when I went to college and spent the first four hours of my Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays sketching (translation – draw a line, erase, draw it again, erase. . .) we weren’t using graph paper, or drawing two-dimensional animals. Actually having to recreate a real object (or person. . .wow, really, nudes should be reserved for higher level, aka more mature, audiences) that was sitting in front of me was so troubling. I think because I had something to compare it to, and it never looked exactly like that. Shading, perspective, dimension, ugh! It was a disaster.
Anyways, I eventually gave up on the idea that I was a creative, artistic person. Buried it pretty deep. Decided it just wasn’t my deal. A few years later, following hundreds of poor decisions, I found myself in a. . .let’s just say. . .non-optimum situation. And although terrible, it allowed me to expand my definition of the word artistic. It is so broad and vague. Art can be whatever you want it to be.
Segway. . .abstract.
I started painting and collaging mostly, mixed media-type stuff, using whatever tools and supplies I could find. It was wonderful to discover that I could find ways to satisfy that need to create. Because even though I was ignoring it, neglecting it, it existed in me. Eventually, after pulling myself up out of a very deep hole, I discovered other types of creative expression. I started very basic – friendship bracelets, jewelry making. Zendoodles, does anyone remember those? They were all the rage a few years back. Right about when adult coloring books started getting more popular. They were marketed as a kind of therapy – which if you are a logical, rational person like me, making random, non-perfect little drawings that you think up out of nowhere can be incredibly difficult, but quite freeing. Photography was another artistic outlet that stuck with me for a while. I loved abstract shots that focused more on the basic elements – color, light, texture – rather than the actual object. *Not taking credit for these, they are not mine.* But they demonstrate what I’m talking about.
As with most of the lessons I have learned in my life, the moral of the story is be accepting of yourself. Don’t try to be like everyone else, because in case you haven’t noticed. . .you are not everyone else. Find what you like and like it! Learn how to create in a way that makes you feel that deep down good feeling. Most of all, only look to yourself for approval and don’t be too hard a critic. I get that it feels amazing when someone tells you something you created is good, but don’t NEED that. Develop your skill, find others that like the same thing, learn, grow and keep creating.
P.S. I totally forgot about my tech-free day challenge. Hah! It’s been rescheduled for this Sunday. Wish me luck!!!