Continue reading about my artist journey
So, yes, I was hopeless at painting and drawing. I stayed away from it and tried to find other outlets. But that whisper, that sense of longing to express myself in that way, the pictures in my head, wouldn't quite let go of me, even while I was entirely convinced I would never be able to draw or paint an even half way decent face, or body - or anything else for that matter. But, every once in a while, I would try and sketch something - something really simple. Just to check if I still sucked at it.
And every single time it turned out awful and it further confirmed my believes.
My 3-year-olds were doing a better job than me! I definitely had none of the diamond-in-the-rough thing going on.
Every time I would be utterly discouraged, even a little ashamed, and would abandon my sad attempt. Ripped it up. Tossed it in the trash. Set it on fire. As if I could wipe out all those icky feelings if I just got rid of it fast enough and thoroughly enough. And pretended I never tried.
Want to see? I have exactly one example from back then. It escaped my notice, tucked away in the middle of a sketchbook. See the photo marked 2012. Yes, that one. That was one of my better attempts!
Looking back, I'm not sure what I thought would happen. Maybe I hoped my hands would magically know how to draw a gorgeous face since the last time I tried?
Continue reading about my artist journey
I suspect, a lot of my struggle had to do with "the gap" (as so eloquently described by Ira Glass) and an entirely incorrect idea of what "talent" and being an artist really means.
In 2012, I finally came to a point where I was not going to deny my longing to paint any longer. I was going to paint and draw, even if it was awful and even if it meant that I would never show a single thing to the world. I would paint because I LONGED to paint and for no other reason.
I started to play with paints, explored the mediums and substrates, and tried my way through all kinds of art supplies. I still wasn't any good, but I had fun!
I practiced and learned, and produced that "volume of work" that Ira Glass is talking about. Then I started doing online art courses. Along the way, I connected to others in the self-taught art community, many on a similar journey. And I did eventually share my work publicly.
And this curious thing happened. People were starting to call me talented!
Me? I'm pretty sure nobody would have called me a particularly talented artist in 1995, or 2011. Or even 2012. So, what happened?
By definition, talent is "a natural aptitude or skill." Uhm, I clearly had zero natural ability or skill. I hadn't ever shown an aptitude for drawing, I wasn't stunning anyone with my amazing renderings of their likeness on a napkin over dinner (I still can't do that, by the way.) All I ever had going for me in that department, was the desire to put on a canvas what I felt in my heart and saw in my mind's eye. I'm pretty sure that alone didn't count as talent. So, like the Soup Nazi in Seinfeld "No talent for YOU!"
First, if you are making art, you're an artist. Nowhere does it say that your art has to be amazing, breathtaking, even vaguely good, or recognized by the art establishment to qualify as art. In fact, we all started out as artists.
Second, I have come to believe, that often when we say "talent," what we actually mean is "skill, " coupled with a tenacity that just won't let us go. Skill acquired through no small amount of practice and determination. The passion to want something bad enough to put in
I could have saved myself so much heartache, had I known to focus on my continued desire to make art rather than that lofty notion of talent!
Had I focused on that drive that had me come back to try again and again, on the practice, on aquiring a skill, I would have found out a lot sooner that talent in itself has nothing much to do with anything. Even a god given talent, in the strictest sense of the definition, goes nowhere without practice, without effort, without honing that skill. Over the years, my definition of talent and what makes an artist have changed fundamentally.
the effort. Not just for a month or two, but for years! I think we also mean courage.
The courage to
• show up every single day and try again.
• sit with the feelings of "not good enough," and push through. Again and again. The willingness to let it be a "not yet" instead of a "never will be."
... The courage to
• reach and grow and sometimes stumble and fall. To get up more times than we fall and carry on.
• be visible to the world through something that keeps on calling to us. Even when we are not that good . Yet.
I think, maybe that's what we really mean.
And that brings me to where I am today.
Now my art work is enjoyed in private collections in America, Europe and Australia. Still a "pinch me" moment, most days!
I get to do art for a living! From home! Every day!
Most of my art work is sold online, which is quite awesome in itself. What makes it even better, is that it also gives me the opportunity to connect to wonderful communities of art lovers online.
This isn't the end of the story. Thankfully, in many ways, it's just the beginning.
And I am so grateful for this journey and all it is bringing into my life! Most of all, I am grateful for you!
Have you unleashed your inner artist, yet?
Tea, tea, oh how I love you so! And I don't just mean the British cup of tea, even though it didn't hurt any, to live in a country, where the answer to everything is a cup of tea! But my love for tea started long before I lived in the UK.In fact, tea is a big deal in Germany, too, so it really started in my childhood!
Herb teas. Fruit teas. Black teas. Green teas. Everything in between. Hot tea. Iced tea. Chai tea.
Oh, yes, I love them all! And I have them all, too. Well, maybe not all, but an impressive stash. A whole kitchen cupboard is dedicated to tea. That's some prime real estate in a small kitchen!
I love water in all forms - in fact, there isn't much that water won't make better for me!
Not surprisingly, there is a lot of water in my paintings, too. I am quite fascinated with how water alters the perception in paintings. Condensation, rain drops, drip trails running down a window pane.
And behind it we see something, someone. Features are softened, often down to a mere suggestion, some areas are brought into focus, and there is this juxtaposition of what is actually there, what isn't there and what is only suggested or what our brain just fills in! Our perception becomes as fluid as the water.
I'm a bit crunchy! I like to leave things as natural as possible, be involved in the creation as much as possible, connect to them as much as possible - in all areas of daily life, but especially the things that nourish and sustain us. I LOVE to do things from scratch. Learning how to master something from the ground up is so fascinating to me!
I'm an avid cook and baker. I make as much as possible from scratch! I am also the queen of gadgets when it comes to kitchen conveniences, though. It's how I roll!
I grow as much as I can in our small garden. Not only does it provide us with a fair bit of our food, it is a delight to be in. More than that, it is a place that grounds me, connects us all to nature, despite living in the middle of a large city.
I am a fall baby myself, so I may be biased, but fall is just glorious to me!
I have lived in many different countries, with many different climates, yet fall remains my favorite season.
The colors of fall are amazing! Such deeply saturated shades of every color.
Now that I live in a desert climate, fall also signals (sometimes) the end to blisteringly hot temperatures. It brings a promise of time spent outside, of the garden reawakening, of cooler nights and the possibility of open windows in the morning!
WONDERING WHAT MY FAVORITE ART SUPPLIES ARE?
GO HERE TO FIND OUT!
• I was born and raised in the south of Germany (Bavaria.)
• I only meant to visit the USA for 2 weeks. It's been 19 years so far!
• I rarely watch TV without also doing something else! Usually something artsy or crafty!
• I love to be organized. My family doesn't!
• I can get really obsessed with a particular song for a while. I will listen to it over and over, until I get it out of my system - or into my system, not sure what happens there! It earns me many eyerolls from my family!
• My eye color changes. A lot. My eyes are like some kind of mood ring. Most of the time they are green, but they can turn blue, teal and sometimes more of a deep grey! It makes for fun passport controls!
• I really really miss living by the sea! Except for when hurricanes are moving in, then I'm really glad I live in a land locked state.
• When I moved my belongings from Scotland to the USA, it all got lost, never to be found again! Talk about a COMPLETELY new start. I have to say, it took me quite some time to get over that!
Yes, it's only stuff, but it was stuff that witnessed my childhood, my growing up, the experiences I had, the connections I made, the lessons I had learned. Just stuff - but irreplaceable, precious stuff.
• I love to read whenever I can! Wish I could say the same about exercise.
• I trained as a Classical Homeopath (L. Hom. Med) but I don't practice here in the USA. Over the years, I also trained in various other therapeutic modalities, among them, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) practitioner, Matrix Reimprinting practitioner and a special needs teacher.