Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. ~ Pablo Picasso
My parents say I made beautiful drawings as a child. They thought I was really good. Maybe they were right or maybe they were just my parent. They enrolled me in an art class and that was the end of it.
I dabbled in piano long enough to be able to play Ode to Joy and a bit of guitar but it really hurt my fingers. I had cameras as long as I can remember and I have always taken pictures. Loads of them even before the digital era when processing film was so expensive. I recorded all the moments of my life, I processed them through the lens. Still I never thought myself as artistic.
Artists made beautiful art. Art that would make you stop in your tracks and admire. Artists had epiphanies, waited for their muse and they were talented. Yes talent, the thing I was missing.
So I left the camera, the paint and the musical instrument and I studied math. Long enough and hard enough and I did well. Then came an engineering degree, a master’s degree and another one. A job, a husband and a transatlantic move that landed me in New Jersey. I was home and I had a first child and a second and a third. I wasn’t sure who I was anymore because I always equated myself with what I was studying or my job. The camera was still there, capturing the fleeting moments of childhood. The fleeting details like the nape of their neck or their chubby arms. The bits and pieces I thought I would remember forever but are now lost in time save for that little picture. And I thought of how that camera made me happy, kept me sane. Maybe just maybe I could learn to take better pictures, move that camera out of Auto. I read all the books I could find about art, photography and creativity.
I came upon this quote:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” ― Chuck Close
I have been working hard, almost every day for the past two years. Trusting my instinct, trusting my voice, doing the work. We are all creative, we have to trust our instincts, hear our fear of failure but not act on it. Watch our children as they create and learn from them. Let go of the shame, the fear of ridicule of the not enoughness and just enjoy the process.
What is keeping you from being creative?