In my not so humble opinion

Some recent thoughts of mine that I hope fall into the passionate as opposed to preachy category… I have preachy tendencies, so sometimes it’s hard to tell… if you find it preachy, leave me hate comments…

Okay by now you’ve noticed that I’m interested in a lot of things, and some people have even expressed that I do multiple things well (Those are the ones who are desperate enough in this economy to accept the meager bribes I can afford, but who’s counting?)

I hear one thing a lot said in my direction and it’s started to bug me.  When people see my art whether it’s painting or photography or mixed media, or find out that I can cook (and in case you haven’t read, I can also plan a dinner party for 17 with 5, count them 5 courses! yeah, I know now you hate/admire me too…), or find out that I write, or am a martial arts instructor, I hear this one phrase over and over and over again.

I could never do that.

Pardon my french, but why the hell not???!?!??!  (scoop yourself up if you fainted, I needed the emphasis.  Oh come on, it’s not like you never swear… eh? That’s what I thought).

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only difference between me (somewhat excelling in several areas of interest) and some other folks (who think they aren’t creative) is that instead of approaching new things with “I could never…” I look at something and think, “I could do that, if  I learned how.”

Am I currently in the physical shape to climb fourteeners in the Rockies, not by a long shot.  Could I get there if that was my goal?  Absolutely.

Could you learn a form of artistic expression that goes with your personality? Absolutely! Not all of us were cut out to be Rembrandt or Picasso.  Some of us just need to explore our creative potential and let go of our notions of perfection.

See, I think the biggest hold-up to most of us discovering our creative potential… okay make that two biggest hold-ups… no, there are three biggest hold-ups…

Where was I?

Yes, the biggest hold-up(s) to discovering our creative potential are probably equally distributed amongst these things.

(1) The idea that there is good and bad art and thus if we don’t see perfection in our work, or rather we’re all too aware of the imperfections as we see them, we can’t make anything creative.

(2) While we all want art of some sort, we’re both terrified of being the starving artist and slightly superior feeling to those who attempt to make a living at art.  Although, no one said you had to quit your day job… AND that superior feeling comes from secret envy, I’m convinced 😉  By the way, I made the garden bench and you can tell by the picture that it’s not perfect (see the screw I stripped and then hammered sideways so it wouldn’t stick out? and you can tell it’s not perfectly level).  But you can sit on it.  And it looks pretty cool.  And I made it with my own two hands (and some power tools! I love power tools :-) )

(3) We don’t actually feed our creative side with enough raw material, and thus we starve it into submission so we can get on with the more “productive” parts of our lives.  (more on feeding our creative selves to come).

Why do I think this? As someone who’s been theologically trained and who despite my use of a swear word above is with God’s help a faithful and devout Christian, I have to say it goes back to being created in the image of a creative God.  If God is creator God, (which I think most who call themselves Christians can affirm despite one’s favorite origin of the world story), and if we are created in his image, then we are creative by virtue of being his kids.

Think about it.

Here’s some resources to feed your creative side.  Yes, they’re books.  What can I say, I have book issues… But these books have lots of pictures, bonus right?

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  Don’t miss the accompanying Journal and Workbook to go with this exploration of art and spirituality.

Taking Flight by Kelley Rae Rogers.  Get your creative juices flowing with this inspiring book that come complete with step by step instructions from multiple artists on how to complete one of their favorite projects.  There’s all kinds of cool ideas in here…

The Secret of Rusty Things by Michael de Ming.  I love rusty things… this is one I wish I owned… feel free to buy me a copy when you buy yours 😉

Like soft things instead of rusty things? Try Fabric Art Collage by Rebekah Meier for some projects that have to do with, well, fabric, and art, and er… collage.  Descriptive title, don’t you think?

And last for today is a book that looks at trends in Mixed media art as well as sharing ideas and techniques.  It’s appropriately titled Exploring the Latest Trends in Mixed Media Art: Projects and Techniques (I promise the stuff inside is more creative then the title!)

15 thoughts on “In my not so humble opinion

  1. Wow, this sounds a whole lot like a conversation I just had with someone who sounds just like you!:) It was a great conversation and this is a great post!:) Keep it up!

    1. Well, I'd say hook me up with this other person you're talking about, but I have a feeling you're talking about me, and I don't really need any more incentive to talk to myself… I do it all the time as it is… 😛

      1. Well you are right about that!
        And about talking to yourself – that's OK – it's a good way to find out what you think!

  2. Two things:

    1) I'm not convinced that I could ever learn to paint very well. Perhaps I could, but I do think that some people draw/paint well more easily than others. I used to do some drafting (the engineering drawing kind, not the race car kind), and I was pretty good at that, but free-hand drawing or painting has never come easily to me. Could I get there? Perhaps I could become decent.

    2) I also struggle with perfectionism, so any creative undertaking is difficult for me to keep from nitpicking to death before it can grow. That is definitely solvable, though it will take some work and some time. I'm a pretty good amateur photographer, and while it might take me a while to get good enough to make a living, I'm pretty confident I could get there. The same could be said for my writing, cooking, etc. I could even be a fair preacher.

    If being created in God's image means we reflect some of His creativity, then I would make a compelling case that God likes sophomoric humor…

    1. Adam, you could learn to paint something if you tried… it might be good abstract art or something, but you never know until you try. That being said, it might not be what's best in line with your personality, which is sort of what I was going for–that everyone can be creative in different ways in line with their personalities.

      On your second point, pick something and go for it 😉 you're a smart guy and I think you definitely have untapped creative potential.

    2. Adam: one of my favorite quotes is that "God is a comedian playing to a crowd that's afraid to laugh." I'm pretty sure he appreciates sophomoric humor when it brings joy to folks. Just my opinion…

      1. from The Artist's Way, by Juli Cameron "Judging your early artistic efforts is artist abuse" maybe you've just been subjected to this 😛 or subjected yourself…

  3. Anna,
    I love this post! That being said I don't necessarily agree with your why completely (sorry I'm one of those agnostic folks) which isn't to say I discount it. I do believe that, wherever responsibility for our human traits lies, that we are capable of learning just about anything we set out to learn. I know that I annoy people at times, by saying things like, I think I'll paint something, write something, teach myself an instrument, etc. And I do firmly believe that I can accomplish anything I set myself to do. I don't expect anything of anyone else, but some people have acted like I do. I've heard comments like "Is there anything you can't do." (for full effect imagine a perturbed delivery.) I think that many things come easily to me, but I also think it's partly because I don't imagine I'll have trouble.

    And I don't think you're being preachy at all!
    My recent post The Assassination of Jesse James by That Coward Robert Ford

  4. Anna,
    I love this post! That being said I don't necessarily agree with your why completely (sorry I'm one of those agnostic folks) which isn't to say I discount it. I do believe that, wherever responsibility for our human traits lies, that we are capable of learning just about anything we set out to learn. I know that I annoy people at times, by saying things like, I think I'll paint something, write something, teach myself an instrument, etc. And I do firmly believe that I can accomplish anything I set myself to do. I don't expect anything of anyone else, but some people have acted like I do. I've heard comments like "Is there anything you can't do." (for full effect imagine a perturbed delivery.) I think that many things come easily to me, but I also think it's partly because I don't imagine I'll have trouble.

    And I don't think you're being preachy at all!
    My recent post The Assassination of Jesse James by That Coward Robert Ford

    1. Brent, I'm glad you enjoyed it despite not agreeing with my why 😉 I appreciate folks that can see past the part they disagree with to like other parts that may be valid for them.

      I wish people would get inspired and not annoyed (or threatened 😛 ) as some of us pursue our varied interests, I wish more people believed they could do just about whatever they decided to learn to do well…

  5. Anna, you could climb a 14'er any day – come on over & let's go. We'll wait a few weeks until you've adjusted to the altitude :)

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