Isn’t it amazing how feelings from our childhood can have such an impact on our lives as adults?
I still remember the hurt I felt in 4th grade, when a visiting art teacher told me that I didn’t draw very well. To give this woman the benefit of the doubt, she may not have said it that way, but that was how I heard it. I think the assignment was to draw a picture of nature, so I was drawing a tree. I was pretty happy with the way it looked, at least for a little while.
As the teacher walked around, I heard her comments to other students like “good job”, “that’s a good start” and “I like those colors”. When she came around to my desk and saw the beginnings of my landscape, all I remember was “That doesn’t look like a tree. You need to work on it”. I was hurt and embarrassed and made every effort not to cry in front of everyone.
From that moment on, I identified myself as not being the artistic type. Although I excelled in school academically, I never put forth the effort in anything that entailed drawing, painting, sculpting, or designing, other than block letters on posters and banners. I had put a label on myself and aspired to conform to it.
Fast forward about 25 years later. I was married, had just had my first child, so maybe it was the nesting instinct kicking in, but I had a strong desire to make decorations for my son’s room, and the house for holidays. My embedded feelings of embarrassment started creeping up, even though I had taken a couple of crafting classes several years earlier and got pretty good with a glue gun and ribbon. Still, I never dared to pick up a paint brush or to draw anything more than stick figures on paper. I finally decided it was time to face my fear. I signed up for a painting class from a wonderful lady named Dixie Clements, and it was the beginning of a wonderful 7 year relationship.
Dixie was patient and enjoyed teaching beginners. I had so much fun learning the many modalities of art she taught: painting on wood, metal, glass and fabric, using watercolors, and even making 3-dimensional art pieces. I painted Christmas stockings (pictured below), lots of Christmas ornaments, a silk scarf, made a wall sign with punched copper and painted many designs on wood pieces that her husband crafted for us. I lost touch with Dixie after we moved to Georgia, but I will be forever grateful to her for helping to bring out the artistic abilities that were hiding inside of me.
It has been 10 years since I’ve worked on any projects, but I got the bug in me again. I just started a beginning doodling class, taught by a very talented entrepreneur and my friend, Vanessa Lowry. I am thoroughly enjoying the class and may even create a large mandala doodle for our family room wall, which also happens to be in the Creativity gua of our home.
Creative modalities are everywhere. The believe design, on the top of this page, is a wall in the home office of my dear friend, Nanette Littlestone. Nanette is an amazing editor and writing coach and became interested in the art of origami a couple of years ago. She made hundreds of origami butterflies to create her inspiration wall, which encompasses the Creativity area of her office. She has since moved the entire design from her office to a church Sunday School, who was thrilled to have it. Nanette now has a blank canvas to try another new project!
So, what do you do to keep that spark of creativity alive and well in your life? If you’ve never considered yourself artistic or creative, give yourself permission to toss that label and try something simple. There are all sorts of classes you can explore through craft stores and adult education courses. YouTube has tons of videos to check out as well. The point is to just step out and discover something you like!
When I moved out of my fear and self-judgement, I learned valuable art techniques and tips and now consider myself artistic and creative. This vision of myself opened new avenues of possibility in my life, one of which was becoming a feng shui consultant. Imagine what it can do for you!