Thursday, February 15, 2018

Everyone Has Some Artistic Creativity in Them

Our artistic creativity is shaped not just by our innate abilities and training, but often by the input of others.

I was rebuked by a Sunday School teacher when I was about 4-years-old, because I had not followed her directions. I cut out the little pictures on my page before I colored them, which was apparently not the order in which she wanted us to do things.

Coloring page, crayons and scissors

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We were supposed to color first so, when our strokes strayed from within the picture outlines, our crayons would not make marks on the desks. I was shy and eager-to-please, and not
used to getting into trouble. After that, I refused to go back to Sunday School and the experience rocked my creative confidence.

There was a day in early elementary school when I discovered that some of us are artists ... and some are not. We were drawing pictures, and my classmates were applauding some efforts and making fun of others. My work was not in the first category. I decided I was not artistic.

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Despite believing that I lacked talent, I still badly wanted to create art. When I was about ten, a teenage neighbor-girl showed me some tricks for drawing mountain scenes. I asked for some textured paper and a box of pastels for my birthday; then practiced drawing rivers, trees, mountains, and sunsets. I later read a story about a girl who designed greeting cards, using a stepladder as her easel. I got out a box of watercolors and relocated a ladder from our garage to my bedroom for a while. Despite all these efforts (or perhaps because of the results) I remained convinced that I had zero talent.

My senior year in high school, I somehow ended up taking an art class. I was nervous about it; sure that my efforts would be sub-par. Much to my surprise, my endeavors were praised by the teacher. I clearly remember the day she looked over my shoulder and told me I should start believing in myself, as my work was quite good. What? She was talking about me? I was stunned.

I did not become an artist, but after that I gained a new confidence in tackling projects that require some creativity. How we view ourselves can really be the most limiting or empowering force in our lives.

For Christmas this year, my daughter signed the two of us up for a "Paint Party" evening, knowing it was something I would enjoy. Despite wintry conditions, she drove home the weekend of our class and we went together. It was SO much fun.

Paint party class - lots of fun

These sort of painting parties are popular in many places now. A teacher guides the participants step-by-step through the creation of a painting.

There were about 30 participants in our class. We sat in rows, side-by-side, in front of canvases set-up on table easels. This is a photo of the scene that we were taught to paint:


Snowy bridge - paint party project

That evening I discovered I really like working with acrylic paint. Maybe because it washes off of skin with soap and water. I am a messy painter!

My painting in progress

Some snacks were provided, and we were encouraged to bring our own beverage. By the end of the night every single person had produced a beautiful acrylic painting of the scene we had been taught to paint.

Paint party class

Each person's rendition of the original painting was a little different, but all were impressive. My daughter decided she didn't want a stone bridge in hers, so she painted some really cool slats for her bridge instead. I was impressed by her courage and confidence to deviate from the instructions ... it seems I am much more of a rule follower than she is! (Hm mm, I wonder if that has something to do with the previously mentioned Sunday school experience.)

Our paintings of a snowy bridge

Since this class, I have thought a lot about my role as a parent. Was I encouraging enough of all my kid's endeavors, or did I emphasis some talents and perhaps discourage them from pursuing others? I hope I didn't squelch many of their dreams with negative comments, like the one my Sunday School teacher made to me. But it's important to realize that it's never to late to encourage someone, the way my high school art teacher did.

When I first saw the painting we would be trying to reproduce, I doubted that many of our finished works would look much like it. But this class was a true testament that we all have some artistic ability.

Every single painting turned out great! Even mine! 😊

How artistic and creative do you consider yourself to be?

7 comments :

  1. Not very artistic here, although I can do a reasonable tree, my talent seems to be in writing, but not as well as authors who can churn out best sellers on a regular timetable.

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    1. If you can do a reasonable tree, then I suspect you are more talented than you admit, River. I thought that was one of the hardest parts of this painting! And writing is an artistic talent. It suspect writing a best seller is dependent as much on good marketing as it is of literary skill.

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  2. I think you definitely have talent. I like both of your pictures. It's amazing what an art class can do, isn't it? The instructor always makes it so much easier. I watch a lot of "YouTube" videos. My stuff never quite looks like it should, though. Still fun.

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    1. Thanks Lynn! You Tube videos are a good way to learn. And I suspect you have a lot of talent!

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  3. What a fun evening, Susan! Your painting is wonderful - it has real depth. Good on you.
    You've reminded me of the time my grade 5 teacher told me that my singing reminded her of "a rusty door." I've always felt that I "couldn't sing" since then. My son's friend's mom is a musical therapist and she was horrified to learn that and insists that I must visit her in Vermont to learn that I can sing. You've given me more incentive to go and do just that.
    Have you bought your acrylics yet?

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    1. Thanks Kelly! It doesn't come close to anything your mom paints, but it was fun! If you go to Vermont to learn to sing, I better go with you! And no, life's been busy so I haven't purchased any acrylics yet ... but they are on the list!

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  4. I always thought I was completely uncreative but I'm learning (late!) that I love colouring-in (always have) I've done stained glass, I blog - which is creative writing and creative image making, I draw for my granddaughter - now there's no pressure to conform to someone's idea of what "creative" means, it's opened my eyes to how we all have abilities if we're brave enough to have a go. Your painting was amazingly good!

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