Being imaginative and creative is something that I have always considered myself to be. However, often there would be long stretches of time where my watercolours would stay in their tubes, my sketchbooks remained unopened, and my ideas would stay locked in my mind. As soon as I brought out all of my supplies out and started painting, I wondered why I had waited for so long. It always feels like coming home when I can put something down on a page that once only existed in my imagination. Why was something that I loved so much, so difficult to get around to doing?
I realized two things were limiting my creative potential:
1. Inaccessibility (or inconvenience) to supplies 2.Fear of Failure
I used to store all of my art supplies in a spare bedroom, which is one of the smallest, coldest, and darkest rooms in the house. Slowly, my art supplies began trickling out into the main area of my home, which is much more bright, open and has a beautiful view of the river. I also realized that in order be an artist, it is inspiring to surround yourself with your own work, as well as other artists and things that make you laugh, smile, wonder, or spark your imagination.
My husband helped me build an idea board, which sits on the sill in the kitchen/dining room, and holds all of my works-in-progress. While I’m making coffee in the morning, or chopping vegetables, I can look over at my paintings and study what I want to add next.
I placed my milk painted table in the corner, which holds much of my art supplies and small objects, treasures, and things that I find interesting.
Next, I turned the screened in porch into another studio area, which is perfect in the summer. I can drink tea, listen to the birds, and watch the deer tramp by while I am painting.
I bought a second hand piece of furniture and turned into my illustration cabinet, which sits in my library and holds paper and other supplies. If you walk through my home, you will see evidence of my art in almost every room. Sometimes Kent questions my design sense (ie.partridge hanging in a wire hot air balloon) but he usually is intrigued by it, I think!
I have made my art supplies so accessible, that it is nearly impossible to not create. I keep fresh paint at all times in a plastic palette, so that even if I have just 30 minutes, I can open it up and get painting with absolutely no preparation.
I had access to all of my supplies, but there was something else holding me back! It was the awful, terrible, and destructive element: Fear of Failure!
I decided not to let this dark cloud get in my way. I decided to create something every day. It didn’t have to be perfect and it didn’t have to be a finished piece of art.
Being creative, I think, should not be limited to creating a highly detailed painting or a perfectly designed image in a sketchbook. Being creative can just be done for the fun of it and with and can be elicited by anything that catches your eye or imagination.
Anything in the world around us can be considered art. When I think of art in this way, it eliminates the fear of not being able to create something that is good enough. It really helped me to become more creative because I gained confidence from the sheer amount of things I was creating and from the fact that I tried not to be as concerned about the result.
There is also a connection to being creative and in what you allow your mind to imagine. I try to tell myself that if I can imagine it, I can create it. This translates into other areas of my life. I can now walk on my hands for over 20 seconds and do gymnastics movements on the rings that I had never previously imagined that I could do. But now, I try to visualize myself achieving what I want to do and it is this initial image that spurs me on to be able to work towards accomplishing it.. Consistency and hard work that will bring me to the end, but it is the imagining of the end result that gives me permission to even try something that I think is scary or impossible to do.
I try to carry this forward this way of thinking to my students. First, they need to gain confidence that they too can be successful in whatever they are setting out to do. They need to know that even if it turns out differently than what they imagined, they will have learned something valuable in the process. They need to have accessibility to the supplies and need to be exposed to specific concepts and techniques that will help them work towards their goal. I hope to be a role model to those students and help them work towards their own creative potential. I show them my successes and failures. I take risks by doing demonstrations in class, which do not always turn out as masterpieces. I've learned to laugh at myself at times like this! Being creative is such a wonderful part of my life and I want to help others find confidence to explore their own creativity when it comes to creating art. I truly believe everyone is imaginative and creative once they allow themselves to believe they are.
Being creative is just like any other pursuit. It takes time, effort, and dedication. It is what I have built my life around and is something that I hope to help bring out in others.