In fourth grade, we were asked to partner up and draw/color each other’s faces. I was partnered with Karla, a dark-skinned girl from India. I was excited, drew what I thought was representative of what I was seeing and colored her face with a nice chocolate color crayon! The teacher came around and praised Karla’s picture of me and when she looked at my drawing, her face changed. She mumbled something like “nice picture” and walked away. That moment was pivotal in my young mind. It killed any creative juices that I might have had at that young age. Sure, I didn’t know how to shade and maybe it was not an exact replica of Karla’s face, but I do remember the excitement and joy I had to do art at that moment! And then, just like that, it died.
I entirely gave it up during most of my high school. In grade 10, I went to a different school. One of the teachers was an incredible artist and drew amazing portraits. I would sit for hours at the end of the school day, watching him do beautiful portraits and landscapes. He would ask me if I wanted to try, he could teach me, but I kept saying no. In my mind, remembering that time in fourth grade where I felt ashamed of my drawing, I didn’t think I was creative enough. I knew I was attracted to the creative process. Another time, my mother sent me to spend the afternoon with a famous oil painter and I loved watching him paint. But again, that nasty chatter in my brain was telling me it is only “people who are born with it” can paint.
Fast forward to 2014. It was a time in my life of tremendous change and quite frankly chaotic. I was walking around in Chapters book store and perusing the magazine section. I stumbled upon an art journaling magazine (Somerset Studio) and was so deeply moved by the beauty of some of the art journal pages. I started looking online for videos and started art journaling. In the beginning, they were not as nice as the “videos” because I was not familiar with products, but I did love scribbling, gluing, exploring, and I didn’t care how it turned out. Art journaling is perfect for getting over “being perfect”. It is a practice for you, and anything goes. You can experiment, play, try all kinds of mediums.
I don’t know when it happened, but my mother-in-law at the time (a long-time painter/writer) said to me while looking at my art journal – “That is so beautiful, why don’t you start painting on canvas”. I did resist but then I said to myself why not? I don’t have to do “realistic” art. I can do whatever I want. Art journaling helped me understand that the very act of creating is more important than the end product. Since then, I have painted on many, many canvases and will continue to paint and be creative until I die! lol! I wanted to share this story with you because I come across people telling me they are not creative. Well, creativity is your birth right. Anyone can create. What you may want to look at is why you gave up being creative in the first place!