Thursday, February 14, 2013

Confessions Of An Artistic Wanna Be

I cannot imagine any kid anywhere that, when presented with some paints, a paint brush and a plank piece of paper, does not create with all the passion and focus of a Monet or a Rembrandt. I was no exception. As a child I loved art and always imagined that one day one of my masterpieces would adorn the walls of our home complete with gold-edged frame and glass. Alas, my art teachers did not share the same future for me. I had siblings and other relatives that were gifted in that direction but my talents were to take me in a different direction. I just didn't know it at the time. I even had one art teacher in high school tell me she never saw anyone who tried so hard but who just didn't "connect," as she put it.

Fast forward about 40 years. I was visiting a dear friend who paints. I told her the story about my art teacher. She was fuming. "I wonder how many other students she robbed of the joy of painting by her narrow-mindedness," she said. She asked me if I liked to paint. I told her I did and even enjoyed sitting down with the grandkids when they came over and painting with them. "How does painting make you feel?" she asked. "Happy, content, like a kid again," I replied. "Then paint," she commanded! "It doesn't have to be a masterpiece. The joy is in the doing, not the finished product." I went home and started painting for me. I could probably submit them in a children's art contest and no one would be the wiser. It doesn't matter. What matters is that it brings color and feeling into my life and that is all that counts.

As it happened, right about that time is when I discovered gardening and it was there that my artistic talents blossomed along with my flowers. That is where all the longing for color, form and function came together. One was just practice for the other.

Never deny yourself the joy of creating just because you are holding yourself to someone else's standards. It can be painting, writing, gardening, sewing, anything at all. In addition to not being the world's greatest painter, I am also not the world's greatest knitter, yet every year my grandkids get new scarves, or slippers, or leg warmers complete with mistakes. Love doesn't need to earn artistic awards. Besides, imagine how grey and boring our lives would be without the joy of moving from imagintion to creation.

     "Use those talents you have. You will  make it. You will give joy
      to the world. Take this tip from nature: the woods would be a very
      silent place if no birds sang except for those who sang best."
                                              Bernard Meltzer

Gee, I just got a mental picture of  a robin sitting on a branch singing Spring into being. Quick, where did I put my paint brush? Why don't you grab one, too? Or a pen, or whatever your tool of choice is, and create something beautiful?

And so it is.