I’m really enjoying the journaly feeling of blogging. I’ve never really been good at keeping a journal, but I will crank out a few pages when I need to. I want to continue to share these feelings with the world of people who find me interesting, because I find these things from other people helpful. I usually walk away with a feeling a belonging, because of something I resonated with, or I get a new perspective I hadn’t considered before. So, thank you for being here, and feel free to comment if anything here speaks to you!
I used to think I was an aspiring artist. I don’t know what I thought the line was for whether or not one was a “real” artist. I’m certainly aspiring to be a professional artist, but I’m definitely an artist.
A chef is a person who went to culinary school. You can be a darn fine cook without having gone to school (talking to you, husband.) But without the education, you don’t get the title. Artist doesn’t work that way. It’s more of a who you are thing than a line you cross with education. An artist can’t not art. If they don’t do it actively, the people around them will still see their creativity in everything else they do. And in my case, I see it looking back now.
For about 5 years I didn’t draw anything. Not even doodling in my margins on work notes. I can’t say much about why other than to say I filled my time with other things. I created 2 children within that time, but I’d quit drawing before my oldest was born. The most artistic things I did in this time were custom birthday cakes for the kids in my life. There were a lot of artistic challenges in some of those cakes. My mom used to do them, but I sort of took over one year in my zeal to be helpful.
My husband got to tinkering in his garage and making little electronic gadgets. Laser lights and LED lights. He made a really awesome wand, too. One night while I was hanging out with him while he was tinkering, I thought to grab a sketchbook. I don’t remember what I drew. That summer I drew a really sweet sketch of my daughter, and the car, and a tree, and just a bunch of random stuff. Between summer and winter I filled a couple of sketchbooks and was on a roll. I got a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 for Christmas, and did a goodly handful of digital drawings. Before my break, I did sketching, but my final pieces were all digital.
Then I pulled out my colored pencils for something. Don’t remember what. They are Prismacolor pencils, and I had so badly given up on art that I’d been letting my children use them. I must have really enjoyed whatever I colored, because I went nuts going back to traditional media. So much so, that I have done only one digital art piece in the last year. If I got that assignment now, I’d probably use watercolor :). In fact, Husband told me last night that I should redo that one in watercolor because it would awesome. I got an Artsnacks subscription for my birthday last year, and it has been AWESOME. A few art supplies every month to tinker with, and then a challenge to do a piece with just what’s in the box each month. Some of my challenges were rather uninspired, but I really enjoyed some of the other ones I did. And lots of the supplies have been adopted into my stash of usual suspects.
It must have been around February of last year that I pulled out a student travel watercolor set that my mother in law gave me. I pulled it out after I painted a rainbow with my daughter and her Crayola watercolors. Watercolor is a great fast way to add some color to a sketch to make it just a little more. I’ve since pretty much gone nuts with watercolor. It helped that I won a drawing from The Artist’s Network to get a huge pile of watercolor things, including a travel watercolor palette, and a great big porcelain Stephen Quiller palette.
It was also in February that someone said something to me that sank in really deep, and I didn’t realize until now, over a year later. I was coloring with my niece (who was 7), and she was dictating where I would color, and
what color it would be. She handed me a blue crayon, and I also grabbed a slightly darker crayon. She gave me a look, and then said “You’re an artist, so I’ll trust you.” I had wanted to add shadow to the area I was coloring, and she loved it when I was done, and did her section similarly.
“You’re an artist, so I’ll trust you.” I realized today (today being the day I’m working on the first draft of this post) that she is the first person who called me “artist” that I actually believed. My neighbor had called me that earlier in the same month and I shrugged it off with an “I’m trying.” Trying is all it takes to be an artist.
And I AM an artist. When I was a kid, I was a beginning artist, not an aspiring artist. Now I’m probably square in the grey middle of Intermediate. I thought I had quit, but now I understand better that there are seasons in life, and even an artist has seasons where they might not art much. But it’s still there, and you might find it in a funny place. Just do yourself a huge favor and don’t deny it when it comes to visit again.