Thursday, February 7, 2013

You're an Artist!

The door I painted for
my 50th birthday.
I longed to be an artist all my life. A real artist. Like Da Vinci or Matisse. Of course, my parents loved everything I created -- and displayed it along with their other art (real art). But somewhere along the line, I became a perfectionist and nothing looked like I thought it should. Instead of developing my own unique style, I berated myself and put away my art supplies.

Fast forward to the 90's. I went back to school for a Masters in Landscape Architecture. I came with an English degree -- nothing in design -- and spent a semester manipulating black circles, squares, and other shapes on white paper in the introductory design class. It made no sense to me. Somewhere in the middle of the semester, something "clicked".....but I have no idea what, why or how, but, according to my professor anyway, I "got" it. 

I loved the design aspect, but felt like my drawing abilities were not up to snuff (so what else is new?), and took an intensive drawing class for about three weeks one summer. I learned some of the tricks and techniques, which helped my confidence in drawing landscape designs, but of course, my "art" wasn't really art.

My next foray into the art world was about seven years ago. I wanted a "Tuscan" kitchen and repainted the walls, adding faux bricks and an aged plaster paint technique. There was a pantry door in my kitchen that seemed like a brown blob, so I painted a scene of the Italian countryside. It wasn't Da Vinci, but it wasn't half bad. So I progressed to other doors around my home (six in all) and had a blast painting them. They didn't always come out the way I wanted, and they've never looked like a Da Vinci, but it fed my soul. 

My beautiful doors were all painted white last year when we considered selling the house. I haven't painted anything since the doors. But, yesterday, I was inspired by a friend's story, and decided to paint it for her. And it was awesome! I don't know why I've waited so long, but I'm keeping my paints and brushes close by from now on.

Having said that, being an artist doesn't have anything to do with paints and brushes. Everyone is an artist. Everyone. Maybe you can cook a beautiful meal, blending the flavors for a memorable taste. Maybe you grow beautiful roses, and create arrangements to brighten up your home. Maybe you understand the purr of an engine, and can troubleshoot problems like a motherfucker. You're ALL artists. Find your "art" and relish the time you spend doing it. Share it with others, or teach it to those that aren't as proficient as you. 

But don't hide it because you think it's not "art" or that you're not "good enough" at it. in the words of Nike, just do it!

Have you discovered your "art"? Do you actively pursue it or do you struggle with perfectionism?

Have you been there?


  1. Great post!
    The definition of art is definitely something beyond saleable or finished professional quality.

  2. Why thank you! :)

  3. Yes, yes, YES! :)


Yes! I've been there, Claire!