"Everyone has the opportunity ... to make art into a regular part of your everyday life. It doesn't matter what your elementary school art teacher said, or your parents, or your boss. You have it in you to draw, to play an instrument, to write poetry, whatever you choose. You can and should express yourself. Regardless of what you fear anyone else may think of the results, you can become a creative person and achieve a new view of the life you lead." - Danny Gregory author of Everyday Matters & more.
This is going to be my new mantra.
I read LOTS of blogs. Art blogs, crafty blogs, decorating blogs, photography blogs....and a common theme is how so many of us doubt our abilities and don't feel comfortable with the label "artist" or "photographer". Instead we use labels like "play", "dabble" or "doodle". I'm certainly guilty of that!
Although I've always done crafty things (usually needlework related), I started my 'artistic' journey a few years ago by buying a set of watercolors and brushes and reading every book in the library about technique. I jumped in with both feet, painted up a storm, but never showed anyone but a select few (family). Life got in the way and I quit working on it for a couple years.
Exactly a year ago I picked up brushes again, went online to see what was happening, and OMG! The wealth of information and support was astonishing. I quickly became immersed in the online art community, finding kindred souls and artists I admire immensely - and who would take time to write back to me! How cool is that?!
"You can and should express yourself." A big (very intimidating) step forward for me was putting my efforts online. There's a certain level of anonymity because there's a space, a level of remove when there's not actually a real person standing in front of you studying your art (knitting, poetry, whatever). I'm still timid about sharing my work with people in person (even friends)......wonder when that will go away.
I still can't refer to myself as an artist though I have elevated myself to an amateur photographer! :) Ultimately, I guess what really struck me about Gregory's quote is that in spite of doubts, fears, or labels, we can all pursue our creative interests at our own speed. Developing skills, making something ugly but not getting discouraged, working through artist's block, and sometimes even sharing our uncertainties helps us all become the best artists we can be.
I thank my lucky starts for the online network of supportive and helpful creative folks out there that are so willing to share knowledge, techniques and encouragement to help me grow.