Saturday, February 17, 2018

I Don't Know Why It's a Challenge

Growing up, it was clear that I had some artistic talent. I came by it honestly, as my mom was an artist. Fortunately, she was also a teacher, and so she knew how to nurture creativity in me, and unlike some parents (including my dad, sad to say) who may have viewed art as a somewhat worthless pursuit, she encouraged me to pursue my drive and ability for drawing and sketching right up through sending me to art school for college. There was never any question of who I was and what I was going to be.

However, although I had had a full head of steam regarding the production of art as a kid, filling up the margins of my school paper and literally stacks of notebooks with my drawings, the older I got, and the better I got, I mysteriously stopped being nearly as productive. In college, I produced work as assigned, but I was a bit slack about working on it out of the classroom, unless a grade deadline loomed. I did, at least, contribute a decent amount to my sketchbook.

But by the time I graduated, I didn't choose to enter the art field, despite my having done quite well at my internship and my school's having a great placement program. I felt that having the pressure to create every day--for some soulless ad agency, no doubt--would take all the joy out of it. I might have been right, but as I entered a succession of service-industry jobs, I didn't spend much of my spare time indulging in that joy.

I find myself filling my spare time with non-productive (and even counter-productive) things like watching television or playing video games. I make time to hang out with friends or check my social media accounts, and I do write (although I also don't do that as often as I'd like or feel I should, although the very high number of blogs that had a flurry of posts at the beginning and then went completely dark would indicate I'm certainly not alone, there). But why don't I make time to create art? I managed to do three whole drawings for Inktober's 31 days, even though, as a kid, I would empty ball point pens with regularity.

When I see artists at work, I watch with fascination, just as people watch with fascination to see me at work (with this in mind, I have sometimes taken a sketch pad to a public space just to entertain folks and keep myself motivated, but I don't do that often enough). I feel inspired by them, and awfully jealous that they seem to have that drive that I have found lacking in myself. Just to get some sort of "art" going, I will sometimes fill in designs in those popular coloring books for adults. It's fun, but I always feel a little ashamed, thinking I should be producing those designs, not just filling them in. I have the ability, after all.

I do know this--once I get started, I can go for a good bit, just like I've done in writing this article. But what do I need to get me started? And why do I need it?

Image of something cool that I colored in but didn't draw, so kinda yay.

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