Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Measure of Creativity

I was always drawing as a child. But I never really thought about art as part of my life. My mom did a huge thing for me when I was in high school by giving me a fancy little paint set, the "real" kind in the tubes. It was out of the blue and I asked her about it. Her reply changed my life. She said I was always good at drawing and she just thought I should keep art in my life, maybe take some classes at school. I signed up for a class the very next semester. I continued by taking some drawing and painting classes in college. But I wasn’t natural at it, not super talented like many of my classmates. Then in college I had a boyfriend who encouraged me to take a ceramics class with him. "Ceramics? ...Ceramics?" The thought had never crossed my mind. I had never thought of art beyond my own limited experience with drawing and painting. After all, when you think of art, you think of a painting, right? I said I’d think about this Ceramics class for the next semester.

In my painting class I worked nearly half the semester on one painting. Then, I had about 5 paintings to do for the second half. One Open Studio Friday I was frantically painting trying to catch up. The Ceramics teacher came in and said, "I hear you’re taking my class next semester." Completely stressed by the Painting requirements, I said, "I don’t know if I can handle it. This painting class is too much for me." He assured me, in his drawling West Virginia accent, that Ceramics was nothing like painting and to just give it a try. I did. And while my boyfriend and I broke up during that semester, I fell in love with Ceramics and discovered my love for three dimensional art.

Well into my declared major I decided to minor in Art. I loved it! My art experience at the small Christian college I attended could not have been better. I became a serious ceramics student and was trusted with a key to the studio. While other girls without dates pined away in the dorms on Friday and Saturday nights, I was always in the studio. I was hooked.

I have always been too insecure to call myself an artist, though. In college I thought it arrogant of my fellow students to declare themselves artists. The title of artist, I thought, was something someone else should give you. I thought you had to be identified and considered an artist by others before you could really claim it of yourself. And even though others do call me an artist now, generous friends mostly, I still have a residual insecurity that makes me feel almost embarrassed to claim it for myself. I’m not good enough to really be an artist. I tend to think the same way about writing. I am not a writer; I just love to write. I am not really an artist, but I do have a measure of creativity.

"A measure of creativity." That is how I’ve come to describe my artistic inclinations. I cannot help comparing myself to others whom I consider artists. My creativity falls far short of theirs. Still, I know I have been given a measure. It is more than some, much less than others.

In life-after-college, I had varying creative expressions working at a flower shop. As life wore on, sadly, my creativity went dormant. Just keeping up with life was demanding enough. In the last few years I have been granted a Creative Awakening. My mind became awake to creativity again and I began getting ideas and seeing possibilities, always in three dimensional forms. I also came face to face with the reality that my chosen medium is prohibitively expensive. If only I was a drawer, I realized one day, all I’d need is a piece of paper and a pencil to do my art. But noooooo, I’m a 3D artist who chose clay and needs thousands of dollars of equipment to make my art! Part of my awakening has been finding other three dimensional means of creative expression.

With this Creative Awakening have come some beautiful opportunities. Namely a Sunday School class at church where we went through the book The Artist’s Way, and a women’s Bible study class entitled Art Expressions where we are learning how to meditate on scripture and then translate what we’ve learned into a creative expression using various media. (More on this later.) The result is that I am learning to accept the measure of creativity I have been given and run with it, even though it's much smaller than I prefer and I can still be quite intimidated when I look around at the vastness of the gift in others. It is freeing me. My creativity is growing as I become less focused on the measure of creativity I lack and more focused on the measure I have. I am learning to let go of perfectionism and just create something. If I don’t like it, throw it away or start over. I have also found painting again. And while it still is not my strong suit, I am enjoying it.

On this blog I’ll be posting photos of some of my works. Art is meant to be shared. It is hard to create something and not want to show someone. I guess it’s the same with other forms of creativity. Writers are not often content to simply write in their journals or write stories no one will ever read. (Except William in Finding Forrester, and I don't think he was as content as he tried to tell himself.) Actors are not content acting out monologues in the privacy of their bedrooms. Actors are meant to act for people. Writers are meant to write to and for people. Artists are meant to share their art. Creativity is meant to have an audience. So, in spite of my insecurities, I’ll post some work. Of course it will only be work I’m happy with, don’t you know. ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment