I can remember when I didn't feel at all, not even a tiny bit creative. I had some time between a lunch meeting and going back to work and so I walked through an A.C. Moore store. I walked through every department, down every single aisle. And I got to the end, turned on my heel and said, 'I don't get it.'
But a few years ago I decided to go from, "I can't draw", to deciding if I wanted to do it or not. I truly believe that ANY skill can be learned now, if you put the time into it. That's always the problem though, isn't it?
At the time I took a life drawing class at a local school. Once a week for 6 weeks, I drew the naked guy in a single pose. And in the end, I really feel that I learned something. Then I signed up for a class with Jane Lafazio (at Create); but had to take a plane home too early to get anything out of it. So watercoloring still eludes me. But I still brought my sketchbook around with me and dabbled in pencil drawing.
Because of this, one of my greatest treasures is the sketchbook page on which my sister wrote her last 'words' to me. I had it with me when I was visiting her in the hospital; and she died unexpectedly that day. I've worked around those pages; and keep going back to them. It gives such a sense of connection to have them; even though it's such a messy thing that probably nobody could read but me. The words are mostly just rudimentary things like her wanting me to get her cell phone so I could contact someone. And her annoyance that I was there, and that Mom was coming the next day – because we weren't needed. This was just a bump in the road on her fight against cancer.
Somehow I didn't think so — and so I came. And I am forever grateful for that. I look through those lines and what it keeps telling me is that I need to keep this creative part of my life going forward. A day isn't complete unless I've made something. Anything. Art is within me now. I bet she'd say, 'whatever' to that too. 🙂
My drawing journey has taken me from feeling that I could not draw; and getting burnt by having hired someone else to fulfill my vision on a product I was developing… and learning the hard way that perhaps others don't have more skills than you yourself can bring to a project. And if you allow it, they will try to take even your idea away from you!
But if you look for the details that surround you every day and just try to capture one piece of your life on paper, it helps you appreciate your life more. My eyes are more open to possibilities. I can do this too…I'm the only one getting in my way.
So to come full circle, I recently submitted some stamp designs to a company from my sketches. We'll see what happens!
If there is a message here, it would be to be present in your life. Document your surroundings, whether in words or drawings, scrapbooking or collage. What lies on the other side is confidence to use those skills, to keep breaking barriers and learning, learning, learning all the time. There is no greater legacy.
So these are my last words that include the phrase, "I can't". I can, if I choose to. And I can choose not to. And that is the most important part – to make that choice rather than letting it just slip past.
I can't let a day go by without having art in my life.
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