Long ago in a land far away--Well, at least it feels like that—I was an unhappy stay-at-home wife and mother. Which is a topic in its self. Let’s just say that contentment eluded me because of wrong thinking. I decided that I needed to DO something for MYSELF; which led me to taking an art class. This is something that I find remarkable even to this day. ME taking an art class??? See, I never thought of myself as the creative type. However, I had a growing love of interiors. I would spend (too much) time poring over magazines and design books (this was long before the days of blogs, blogs, and more blogs)…..and my head was FULL of ideas. Unfortunately when I would try to put those ideas onto paper….it was one hot mess. So I nervously signed up for an art class. It was to be a small class with a maximum of 6 students. But it still took a LOT to convince myself that I could put my non-talent right there for the world to see. I was sure that EVERYONE else in the world was more creative than I. God was really gracious. REALLY GRACIOUS. First of all, my husband was glad that I was going to get out of the house. Second, no one else signed up for the class AND the teacher decided to teach it anyway….just for little ol’ me. Yep, private art lessons for a fraction of the price.
Things I learned:
*Draw what you see. NOT what you THINK you see.
This is what my teacher would tell me time and time again while I was using a picture from a book or magazine to practice drawing. Really, go look at a picture that has a chair or table in it. Most of the time you only see some of the legs of those objects in a picture. However when you are drawing using said picture as a guide, your mind wants to draw the legs that are missing.
*An artist is a person who creates. PERIOD.
One night in class, I made the statement: I am not an artist. I do not remember why I made the statement. All I remember is my teacher stopped me from finishing my grand speech and asked me exactly what I thought an artist was. I went on to explain that I thought an artist was a person who made a living selling their work….or at least had their work shown in a gallery some place. She went on to explain the above statement. I still have to remind myself of this….EVERY time I pull out my sketch book, paints, or ANY other “art” supplies.
*We were created in the image of the ULTIMATE Artist; therefore, we were born to create.
That creativity shows itself in many forms: writing, painting (on canvas, on walls, on furniture, on anything!), drawing, cooking, baking, sewing, gardening, and so, so much more!
*Draw EVERY day.
Draw anything. A paperclip, a flower, a key, recreate a picture from a book, sketch your interpretation of your favorite painting. ANYTHING. Just draw. This can be taken a step farther. Whatever your main creative focus is, do it everyday. Even if you can only do it for a few minutes.
Here is my very first complete sketch from that art class:
Unfortunately, once the art studio closed and the classes ended—the teacher had hoped to reopen in another location, but it just didn’t work out—I apparently forgot all of the above lessons. Slowly I stopped drawing everyday and I stopped seeing myself as a creative person….an artist. Which led to less creativity in ALL areas of my life. Sewing became a chore. Cooking was no longer fun….just another CHORE. I only picked up a crochet hook when too many of my dishcloths developed holes. I pulled weeds from the flower bed to impress the neighbors, not for the joy of a beautiful, growing work of art. Which led me to a pretty boring—and frustrating—life.
I’m dusting off the ol’ sketch book…..pulling out the pastels that my hubby bought me for Christmas—that I was so surprised and happy to unwrap and still have only used twice!….scanning a few new cookbooks…..and going through my fabric stash. It’s time to start creating a more creative life. So my first goal is to draw something, anything everyday. I know from past experience that not only will this help me improve my drawing skills, it will also help me to add more creativity into the rest of my life. The more you create, the more creative you become! Join me?
Once I made the decision to create a more creative life, online articles on the subject just seemed to keep jumping out at me….more God moments. Here are a few links for you:
I leave you with a peek into my sketchbook…..imperfect lines, proportions and all. It is what happens when creativity is neglected. But I know with daily practice and patience, it can only get better!
One last, very important lesson that I learned in art class:
- ALWAYS sign your work and date it once you have finished it. Yes, even the awful, nothing came out like you intended pieces. Especially those works! In the future, when you are/someone else is looking through your sketchbooks you/they will see just how much your practice paid off and/or you will be able to tell how the events of life change your art/perspective.
Until next time,