I know many of you are shaking your head. Some of you may even notice a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach even thinking about art. You may have suffered a bit of humiliation as you remember those middle school and high school art classes. Singing, dancing, drawing and many other creative activities are often ditched as soon as we learn, or someone enlightens us (teachers, parents, friends) that there are kids that are “good” at those things and you aren’t one of them.
Think about the kid in class who was a great artist? Who had the lead in the plays EVERY year? Who sang? Who danced? Who debated? Won the science award? Yada Yada Yada. Very early on we are labelled, group, categorized with nary an opportunity to try these things out once we learn, we have no talent for these things.
I was the singing and writing kid and never knew I had artistic talent until I was forty—I am grateful to my graduate school for basically forcing me to choose another “art” to study for my certification in expressive arts. The idea of drawing anything beyond a stick figure, the possibility that I would be called upon to draw anything beyond a stick figure literally made me want to throw up.
I had a great teacher and mentor. She brought out the whimsy and delight in all of us. Suddenly we were pre-school kids with the enthusiasm that kids that age bring to every art project. Gone was the self-censoring and judgment. We all flourished and I learned I was an artist.
Why ART? It’s not art that I’m championing so much as the opportunity to be that child you once were—free, non-judgmental, proud, enthusiastic, courageous and most likely, very, very colorful.
When we engage with color, courage, excitement and the act of non-judging (ourselves), we open ourselves to exploration and can step beyond the same old, same old and give ourselves permission to learn something new.
Engage with your censors! I clearly remember the struggles I had with making art. I loved working with all that color but often detested the end product.My teacher helped me to work through the distain for my work and to keep going on the pieces I disliked and see what I emerged. Some of my favorite pieces of art were created from staying the course and resisting the urge to shred the things I didn’t like.
Sounds like there are a lot of metaphors? Yup!!! That censor we bring to creative projects are the same ones we bring to other areas of life.With a little bit of help and support making art can be great at helping to magnify the censors.You can work playfully and creatively while you learn how to transcend those things that limit you.
Get Started! Here are my list of “cheats”. I call them cheats because they help to get you started. You don’t have to start with a blank piece of paper while that inner voices screams “what are you kidding yourself? You can draw!”
I’d suggest making a few word clouds. Here is a review of some of the major on-line programs you can use. I’ve used WORDLE and TAGUL myself but choose one and just focus on having fun. You can adjust the colors, turn the words every which way and Tagul lets you place your words into a shape i.e. heart, triangle, tree, etc.
Next post on making an on-line collage – ENJOY!
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