I’ve never considered myself much of an artist.
Creative? Perhaps. A lover of the arts? Undoubtedly.
Talented (in terms of being able to use my hands to create)?
I’m fairly sure my lack in confidence when it comes to the fine arts stems from my 6th grade art teacher, let’s call her Ms. Williams. In fact, I think that was actually her name.
I’ll never forget her bright red lipstick or curly blonde hair. I’ll especially never forget the time she asked our class to draw a picture of what we thought Thanksgiving looked like.
At the time, the only artist I was really aware of was Grandma Moses, and that’s only because my parents kept a few of her Christmas paintings up all year long.
I must have been attempting to emulate her attention to detail, because my picture of Thanksgiving included a turkey watching a family eat a feast of turkey; a feather-wearing Indian; an ear of corn; a ping pong table; and my cousins and I tossing a football back and forth.
I remember being quite impressed with my construction paper-magic marker masterpiece. That bitch Ms. Williams was not. She held my picture up in front of the classroom and asked me what that brown blob was in the middle of the picture.
A football? Haha That looks more like a turd.
She might as well have told me that my art was worthy of no refrigerator. That I drew like a four year old. That I might as well consider myself a failure at life at the age of 11.
She probably had no idea that I would carry that comment with me for years. I’m sure she was clueless to the fact that one tiny joke of a statement was setting a sixth-grader up for a lifetime of art-induced shame.
For years, I avoided art classes like the plague. I volunteered to help out with other teachers so that I could avoid tech-work at theater camp. I learned how to trace and I learned how to feign hand-cramps whenever I was expected to use them to create.
Oh, I enjoyed the occasional bracelet making in the privacy of my bedroom… but I didn’t even feel that those were worthy friendship bracelets. I usually ripped them apart as soon as the little black and white initials were in place.
It wasn’t until I discovered decoupage in college that I realized that I wasn’t a complete failure at being artistic. After all, you can’t really fail at finding pictures and colors that you enjoy and sticking them all together and then finishing them with a shiny, sparkly gloss, now can you?
For a few years, I decoupaged anything I could get my hands on. Pieces of furniture, scrap book pages, thank you cards and mirrors were all splattered with the faces of John Cusack and Bulletins from musicals I’d seen over the years.
And then one day I ran out of magazines.
One day, I found myself surrounded by the boxes of glitter, broken jewelry, scraps of felt and tissue paper that I had subconsciously been saving over the years. I didn’t even know why I had saved it, but I knew one day it would all serve it’s purpose.
When I couldn’t contain myself any longer, I just started making things. I gave Ms. Williams a metaphorical “F YOU” and decided I didn’t care anymore what people thought. I just made whatever I felt like making. I mixed beads and glitter and shiny paper, and it was pretty to me.
My friends would come into my room and tell me it looked like a glitter monster exploded on my project. I didn’t care. It only made me want to use more.
I’ve calmed my projects down a lot over the last few years. Both with the frequency, and with the amount of glitter that I use. But I still don’t really care what anyone thinks. Most people would probably say that what I make is tacky. Does that stop me from hanging it on my walls? Not even for a second.
For when I make things, it doesn’t come from a Van-gogh-ish depression-ish state, but a state of happiness. So when I look at it, it makes me feel happy!
My sister and I decided that it was time we did a little redecorating. We both love trees, and already have a bit of a “tree-motif” going on in our living room, so have started the project of making a “tree-wall” of our own art.
My sister is very attentive to detail, while I still tend to paint according to the colors that I feel like using. I’m pretty excited about the finished product. I’ll keep you updated.
In the meantime, send me your favorite tree picture for inspiration.
Also, feel free to send me feedback, questions, or topics that you’d like me to write about to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m really trying to stick to my goal of writing for at least 30 minutes every day… either in my personal journal or on here… but I need inspiration!