Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter / Flashback to Drawings from my Childhood / Thoughts on Creativity

I think I painted this when I was 5 years old

Drawn when I was 6 years old.  Nice hair.  Yes, it is a self-portrait. 

My mom saved many of the things I produced during my childhood, and she recently gave me a portfolio of my drawings, paintings, essays and report cards from long ago.  I think she saved the best of the best, and thoughtfully tossed my crappiest work in the trash.  For some reason I looked through a lot of this stuff today, and it put a smile on my face.  

I loved to paint and draw as a child, as a teenager, and even into early adulthood.  I think some of my best works were probably produced at age 5 and 6 -- the cute and sweet years.  The drawings from my teenage years are awfully embarrassing -- mostly pictures of of flat-faced and unsmiling malcontents, as well as long haired rocker dudes from bands I loved. 

I was an art major in college, with a focus on painting and drawing.  I loved it -- just loved creating things.  But sooner or later I realized I didn't really have quite enough talent, creativity, drive or fortitude to make a career as an artist, and I pretty much stopped painting and drawing altogether, and just focused on making a living and avoiding creative enterprises.   

Photography has always been a bit of a hobby for me -- just a fun, easy, quick and painless creative outlet.  But some would say photography is a "lower" art form.  This may or may not be a fair assessment -- but I think it is more difficult (or more admirable?) to create something from scratch rather than just capturing something that already exists.  Meh.  Who cares.  Side note: I recently read (well, listened to a book on CD) James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and became enraged when he/his character proclaimed that literature is the highest form of art, full stop.  Further reflection makes me think he is probably right, but then again it is probably not worth arguing about, as any creativity is good and it should just be left at that.

My parents have been nudging me/nagging me to start making more art.  They have done this for years and years, cautiously asking me each time they see me if I have painted anything recently.  It is aggravating, and it pisses me off.  I always have an excuse for not painting or drawing: I don't have a studio space, I don't have time, I have tv to watch and books to read and sleep to catch up on, blah, blah, blah.  All of the excuses are true, and I know myself well enough to know that fear is also part of the problem.  I haven't drawn or painted anything in decades (literally), and I know how hard it would be to get any sort of skill back that has atrophied after so much time.  

My dad is fond of making sweeping proclamations -- truisms he has discovered for himself that he insists apply to all of humanity.  It is annoying.  One of his thoughts is that creative activities are the key to happiness -- creating things / MAKING things -- is what brings joy and a sense of accomplishment.  I don't think this is necessarily true for all inhabitants of planet Earth, and I would add that creativity also brings FRUSTRATION, as many attempts at creativity end up being failures, but I guess that is part of the process.

So, anyway, I am blabbing on and on about this in an effort to explain that recently I have tried MAKING stuff again.  It has been fun, and frustrating.  I took a mosaic class at Pierce College a couple of months ago, and it was absolutely fabulous.  I can't even explain it fully -- I was so nervous and so giddy with excitement and so eager for my instructor to hurry up and explain everything fast so I could get started already.  And I'll even add my shameful admission that upon walking into the first class and looking at my competitors classmates, my asshole/animal instinct was thinking I am going to make the best mosaic in this class -- I got this.  Such an obnoxious notion, and I can assure you that I did not succeed in making the best mosaic in the class, but I liked what I turned out.  And it was so exciting to learn a new concept/technique/process, and to start making things.  

I have been making a mosaic or two a week for the last couple of months, and it has been fun.  But with each project I pretty much fail in one way or another, but I learn something in the process and I am enjoying it.  Some things turn out ok, some turn out pretty well, and some pretty much suck ass.  I figure I can only improve, so I am going to keep it up.  And SOMEDAY I might even get up the nerve to try drawing and painting again.  Maybe.  

Just wondering if you have ever denied yourself something you loved to do?  If so, why?  And did you ever let yourself do it again, or does it remain abandoned?  Just curious.  We do funny things to ourselves, but I think there are always reasons. 

P.S. I am still a novice at the mosaic thing.  Someday, if things improve, I will post pics of my better works here.  Someday!

I most likely painted this when I was 5 or 6 years old.  I think.


Marla said...

The second pink chick from the right has a shady look on his face and I do not trust him!

Seriously, congrats on getting back into art. Oddly enough, several (uh, maybe 7 or 8) years ago I decided to take up mosaics. I spent quite a bit of money setting up shop, books, tools, materials and such. I did two projects - a pot that is currently on my front porch, and a bathroom counter at a Mexico beach house of a past relationship. Both were pretty not bad. I LOVE mosaics! I'm looking forward to you sharing, I still have all my stuff, maybe it will inspire me to get going in earnest!

Megan said...

Loved, loved, loved this post. So happy to see your childhood artistic creations as they are very beautiful. Your parents must have been really proud of your artistic talent back then (and of course now). I am so happy to read that you are rekindling your desire to create art and I hope you'll share something you've made on this blog (maybe the mosaic?).

My childhood dreams were to marry an English man, live in London, have four children, write a novel and be a fashion designer for plus sized women. After majoring in English Lit so I could be a writer someday and then enduring a long struggle of dating American jerks and a boring career facilitating business operations for various corporations, I decided to save up some cash to quit my job and finally study fashion design in my 30s. At this point, I finally met my English man who wanted to marry me and take me to live in a city 3 hours north of London. I thought I would study fashion design over there in that city. Didn't happen and I hated living in England. We ended up moving back to the states where we are living happily ever after and I'm still three children short of my original goal and won't be a fashion designer in this lifetime.

My one creative love right now is Instagram and trying to furtively capture the one beautiful photo that will get 100 likes. I love looking through everyone else's photos on Instagram and absorbing the images they capture. It gives me a little bit of happiness during my days to be able to gaze upon beautiful images (I'm talking about your images specifically too).

Good luck on continuing your creative pursuits. I'm super happy for you and hope you continue to feel fulfillment from your artistic endeavors. I will continue to swoon over your beautiful photographs as you are an incredibly talented photographer. :-)

Maegan Tintari said...

YES to all of this :) I agree with your dad... for creative people, being creative does make us happy. I'd been feeling the same way about art for years and I always though I needed to paint and it was messy and I didn't have the tools and I would find all the excuses until a few weeks ago when I was like I CAN JUST DRAW WITH PENCILS and then I started... and I'm rusty, that's for sure, but with each sketch, I get better and that's all I can ask for... except that something else comes with it, a peace and happiness I haven't felt in years and I remembered back to each of my moments on this planet when I've been the happiest, and I was drawing or painting or doing something creative for "me" {vs work/blogging/etc.} and that's what makes me keep doing it. Sharing it helps too... even though I know it's not as great as it should be, sharing the process of beginning again keeps me going and it feels personal in a land where everything has become business..... if any of that makes any sense at all. I'm so glad you're using your talents again. Doesn't it just feel so right? I know, cheese ball, but it's true. :) <3

Lorena said...

I think its so cool that you have your child era artistic works.
Maybe you can have assorted or thank you cards printed and gift them to your parents.. along with a few pictures of the new mosaics. That should make them happy!

Ace said...

I related to your post so much! I find that being creative does make me happy, but that does not stop me from making a million excuses or just simply not prioritizing creativity in my life. I do try to recognize small creative acts, such as posting on Instagram or blogging. You are one of the most creative people I know (kinda) and you put your work out there via your Blog and other postings. I think you should give yourself a bit more credit.

After finishing my undergrad art degree I rarely found time to create, but about 10 years later I started again and worked regularly for about five years. Now I am having another dry spell, but I have faith that I will get back to it hopefully sooner than later. I used to think I wasn't a "real artist" because I did not make art everyday, but raising my daughter has been my greatest work and continues to be my priority.

Keep up the great work! It makes me smile and inspires me!

Jane Droll said...

Marla and Ace -- thank you so much for your comments! Couldn't find an email address for either of you, but it is nice to know that we have things in common. :)