I used to think creativity was only for the artists, like my dad who sketched pictures of us when we were little or who painted incredible images at home. My mom used to try to encourage us to follow in my dad’s footsteps, asking ‘which one of you is going to follow your dad??’ This became a burden on my little sister who was their last hope once we as the oldest three had proven to be no use beyond a misshapen stick man. I started to repeat what I had heard ‘I am not artsy or creative’ as if it was a skill you either have or do not have.
In reality I think we are all artists – that whether or not we are particularly skilful with a paint brush, art is part of our expression as human beings. The saddest thing is that as children it is expected that we will draw, paint, and use our hands to do crafts – and yet for some reason we think we should or will grow out of something so fundamental to us as children. As if we could ever grow out of the need to feel, to express or be heard.
At 30 I developed a sudden urge to do creative arts with paper and pastels and pencils. My instincts were telling me I needed to express myself in a way that wasn’t to do with words and academic work. My soul was calling me to know and express myself in a forgotten way. I get a lot of joy from intellectual wrestling, and my mind is very creative – but art connects with the side of me that pushes the boundaries of imagination even more. I can express in shapes and pictures what I cannot always say in words and this gives me even greater freedom.
The best thing I learn when I do art is that mess is good – it is the only path to truth, to genuine expression and beauty. As someone who likes neatness on paper and in life – this lesson has been the greatest gift. It may take 100 lines before I get the outline I want. I may end up with something I didn’t plan – and yet the end result can still be as beautiful if not more than the thing I had imagined. Even the ‘mistakes’ become useful, and in the end I end up with no regrets, just unexpected moments and experiences that added more colours to the canvas of my life. So I intend to continue to paint boldly and sketch wildly. I trust that I know what to do – and I will keep on expressing what is in my soul. I will be open to inspiration, but closed to comparison. For I am an artist.