In elementary school, creativity seemed to be something everyone had access to. Everyone had creative ability and expressed it in their unique way.
Once middle school began, the idea that every person is a creative being somehow disappeared. Creativity soon was only for the privileged few who could, as I hear most often, draw well.
Though I was told ‘your painting is so great’ or ‘your pen and ink drawing is incredible,’ I have experienced my own battles with art. I’ve had setbacks that made me question my creative abilities.
It took years to analyze my war with creativity. This war had roots growing from state-wide high school art competitions, collegiate juried art shows and then competing against other artists out in the real world.
This war, which brought about artistic skill I didn’t realize I possessed, also created a fearful, timid creator who was eventually so raw that I couldn’t create.
I took a few years off. I stepped away completely. I reflected on Picasso’s quote: “Every child is an artist.” I pondered. I knew it was true.
This quote was part of my path to creating again.
I’m not sure I’m an expert about this fine line between learning, challenging your skills and still protecting the innocence of creativity. Maybe it is a personal journey? I know it was for me. I don’t think I could have listened to someone else’s plan. I needed to walk the journey for myself. I needed to reach my breaking point, step aside, rest, gain new perspective and start again.
Now, I love what I paint. I love the style. It is the look I have been trying to achieve for years, but wasn’t free enough to produce earlier.
Instead of trying to compare my style to others, I enjoy celebrating other artists. I love seeing them succeed, love supporting other artists, love the creative boost I get from seeing their work.
I also see the value in supporting my creativity as though it is a tender plant that needs nourishment and light. I know when I go on regular, long walks, I am refueled to create anew. Going on vacations expands my knowledge and perspective, which expands my ability to create.
Creativity is something we did when we were children for fun, for enjoyment, for the thrill of creating something new. Getting back to that idea, the idea that creativity is within us for fun and for enjoyment, is such a freeing gift.
It was a journey to get myself to this point, full of scraped knees and plenty of tears, but the reward is this: the feeling of being back in elementary school, creating alongside everyone else, full of possibility at what the next canvas holds.