Saturday, April 21, 2012

Painting a Gourd

I came upon this article this morning in an e-mail.  I think it says so well what I've been saying for some time that I believe we are all born with the ability to create art.  Our art may be in the form of painting, dance, music, gardening, designing, writing, etc.  I also believe that to not create is to deny God the ability to show the world what can only be shown through us. Imagine what if I don't "create" something that God feels important that He wants to show the world and then it goes uncreated.  Or what if my lack of creating prevents me from emotionally healing or expressing what He wants done.  I feel my best when I allow time for creativity.   Please post in the comment section below how creating influences your life.  I'd really love to dialogue with you about it. 

Painting a Gourd

All of us were made to make things. During my studies, I found out a surprising piece of data: There is no such thing as a creative or noncreative person. Every single human being is creative. Every research participant could recall a time in his or her life when creativity brought him or her great joy. It was usually childhood, and the creative expressions ranged from coloring or finger-painting to dancing, singing or building. What was most fascinating was that the participants never talked about learning how to be creative—they just were.

As adults, what keeps us from being creative—from painting, cooking, scrapbooking, doodling, knitting, rebuilding an engine or writing—is what I call the comparison gremlin (a close cousin of the shame gremlin). People say, "I'm not good enough," or "Why am I the only one with dangling modifiers?" or "I'm not a real sculptor...I'm a total poser." In other words, we shame ourselves into stopping. While we may have all started creative, between ages 8 and 14, at least 60 percent of the participants remember learning that they were not creative. They began to compare their creations, they started getting graded for their art, and many heard from a teacher or a parent that "art wasn't their thing." So we don't have to teach people to find joy in creating; we have to make sure not to teach them that there's only one acceptable way to be creative.

I had to push myself to rediscover my own artistic side. Unused creativity is not benign. It clumps inside us, turning into judgment, grief, anger and shame. Before I turned my life around, I used to dismiss people who spent time creating. When a friend would invite me to go to an art class or something, I'd respond: "How cute. You go do your A-R-T; I'm busy with a real J-O-B." Now I realize that was my fear and my own frustrated need to create.

To kick things off, I went to a gourd-painting class with my mom and my then-9-year-old daughter, Ellen. It was one of the best days of my life. I'm not kidding. I still paint, and now I'm having a serious love affair with photography. But start with something easy. Why not start with a gourd? Put a silly face on it. Make it smile.

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Elizabeth Maxson said...

Hi Laine,

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. I love this post and you say a lot of good and true things. I remember a quote but can't remember the owner of the quote! But it goes something like this: A professor of art (drawing) was getting ready for work one morning and his little girl was watching him. She was just getting at the age where she was grasping that people worked for a living. She asked, "What do you do all day, daddy?" And he replied, "I teach adults how to draw." She stared at him incredulously and said, "You mean they forget how to?"

I love that story....and that is the point...we ALL are creative....we just forget it.

Thanks for sharing,
Big hug

Laine Barley said...

WOW~! This is a quote by Howard Ikemoto that I put on a chalk board in my art studio a couple of years ago. Thanks Elizabeth for reminding me to re-read it.

Elizabeth Maxson said...

Very cool! I hope I didn't massacre the quote so much. I love it . thanks for the reminder of the name!

Big hug (you stalker you :-)

Elizabeth :-)