Sunday, April 13, 2008

What We Can Learn From Children

I participate in this game over at ScrapinStyleTV called "Sunday Grabs." It's a game where you share art supplies with other members of the online community. You give away things you may not be using anymore, and "grab" things from others. It's a great way of getting to know your "SiSters" , and getting some new supplies to try out at the same time. Anyway, this week I received a "grab" in the mail from Penny - one of my fellow SiStv members, and in it, among other things, was this beautiful little Artist Trading Card made by her 7-year old daughter Isabel.
It was her first ATC ever. Isn't it awesome? I especially love how she painted the back and signed her name really big and proud. When I thanked Penny for the goodies she told me that Isabel had insisted on including her card in the box. It made me think alot about the creative spirit of a child. I remember being a little kid and creating for the sake of creating! There was no thought about if it would be "good enough" or if I was really artistic or not. Like Isabel, I knew I was an artist! I believe we are all born artists, and it's the process of growing up that sometimes wages war with our creative spirit. Somewhere along the way, most of us have someone that tells us that trees should not be purple, or we need to stay in the lines, or if we did it this certain way our art would be "better," or EGADS the worst thing of all - that we are just not creative.

For years I struggled with perfectionism and didn't finish many projects at all. I would start something and then it would sit there until I could figure out how to make it perfect - which of course is an impossibility. What is perfect when it comes to art? The whole concept of perfect art doesn't even make sense. But there you have it. Somewhere in my head I had this impossible goal which took all the fun out of even working on my art projects.

Then this January - something happened that would change my life in such a big way I can't even tell you how wonderful it has been... I joined an online challenge at Big Picture Scrapbooking. The challenge was called L.O.A.D. (which stands for LayOut A Day), and it called for its participants to make one layout or other art project everyday for 31 days and post it to their gallery. The art was not judged. There was no fee. The goal was simply to get people creating - didn't matter what it looked like, just FINISH SOME ART! Believe it or not I made it through the challenge and have been creating an art project of some sort every day since. The joy of creating is back! I'm an artist again!!! YEAY!!!

How long has it been since you've created with the freedom of a child? Sometimes my old perfectionistic tendencies start to creep back in, but I try not to let them stay too long. I say hello how are ya and then send them on their way. This week I encourage you to create for the sake of creating. Don't worry who has been doing it longer, how it will be perceived by others or if it's any good. IF YOU MADE IT AND ENJOYED THE PROCESS YOU BET IT IS GOOD!!!

See you next week my fellow artists!


ReneeinLA said...

In a weird way, it was freeing for me to find out that you struggled with wondering if your art was good enough. I've, obviously, known you all my life and to me, there was never any doubt. I always knew you'd be an artist because that's just who you were. I'm so happy now that you're in a place in your life where you feel able to create freely. You've always been my artistic hero - and you still are!

xox Renee

Anonymous said...

Great blog Michelle! I forget to encourage Isabel as much as I should to be creative. She is going to be so excited when she sees this!

You're a great writer too!


PS: I can't wait to get my very own "Michelle art" from yesterdays grabs! ;)

Denise said...

Amen, sister. And I loved doing L.O.A.D. to...loved the gallery, that there were no comments, you just put stuff up as you finished it.

Taking a class with Ali Edwards really changed my perspective, too. One of my favorite Ali statements was, "your colors don't have to match..." It's not one of the ones she says over and over (like It Is Okay, another favorite), but it stuck in my head and helped me relax, especially when it came to being "perfect."

Tammy Gray said...

Boy, do I ever know what you mean!

Thanks so much for sharing Isabel's card with us! :)