Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
When I was a little girl I would do art any chance I could get. I loved to be creative and was always encouraged by my Mum. It was fun. I enjoyed doing it. In fact, there was nothing I liked better. It was never a chore! It was never dull.
So, what happened? When I was a teenager I romanticised about a lot of things: Marriage, children, getting older.Visions of Picasso danced in my head. Like Picasso before me, I saw my future self eating dinner and then taking my fish bones and making a clay relief. I would have a bohemian house with piles of art and reference books on the dining room table. I would paint along side of my toddler. Look at us painting together for hours at a time. I won’t go as far as to say I imagined myself wearing a striped black and white t- shirt and shorts but I will say that I was totally out of touch with reality. First of all, toddlers require constant help when they do art, and their attention span is all of oh, lets say, 15 minutes. If you are lucky. Also, I can’t stand stuff all over the place, let alone my dining room table. I need that table to feed my kids and I don’t want their grubby little fingers all over my good books! Not to mention that I don’t even like fish very much, let alone a whole fish with bones.
I guess as I got older so much stuff got in the way of the pure process of creation. I had a constant dialogue going through my brain. Is it good enough? Who will like this? Is it too commercial or illustrative? or not enough? Is the palette to cold? Too dark? Too muddy? How could I tap into the pureness of what I was doing if the whole time I was doing it my head was questioning whether I should be doing it all. I don’t know who initially put these questions in my head. College, University, people of influence all played a part. Life isn’t the way I imagined it. The fun in art definitely was no longer part of my process. I no longer felt excited to create. It was just so much pressure: to create art that everybody likes is really hard.
Now, it has come full circle and as a Mother I watch my girls create and I am inspired by them. They don’t worry about the outcome. They just enjoy the act of making something. Anything. When it is done, it is done, and they move on to the next thing. They don’t dwell on it. It is about the process not the product. Sure we all want to create art that we like, and that other people like too, but if that is all we focus on it becomes a chore and where is the fun in that? It is so nice not to be in that angst ridden part of my life. At forty, it is so great to be able to reassociate art with fun, and know I can still learn new stuff even if it is stuff I knew at the age of three.