Even though I have a studio and I make mosaics and people buy them, I have to confess that I'm kind of embarrassed to describe myself as an artist. I feel like someone's going to come and arrest me for impersonating an artist. Because I was always artistically challenged.
My mother never kept a single piece of my childhood artwork. C's in Art kept me off the honor roll. I could not draw a dog or a horse. I couldn't even appreciate art, or fully understand it. I didn't have enough confidence to pick out fabric for a couch. I figured me and art were not meant for each other.
And that's how it was until the day I took Daniel to one of those little studios where you could paint your own ceramics. I was still reeling from my cancer diagnosis a year earlier, and it was all I could think about–even as I made this attempt for quality time with Daniel.
He was 8; and he finished his project in about 8 minutes. I went back to finish mine the next day. And even though it looked like it was painted by a kid Daniel's age, I had enjoyed it. And I thought maybe I'd try something else.
V's birthday was coming up, so I chose a picture frame. This time there was a little more pressure, so I gave more time and thought to the colors and design.
In retrospect, what's most embarrassing is that I actually gave this to V for his birthday.
Sometimes people don't believe me when I say I had no artistic talent. I think they will now.
It wasn't the product, it's the process. I had never done anything artistic, or even crafty. Now I wanted to go back and paint again. By the fourth or fifth time, I was hooked. And pretty soon, I figured out why. While I sat there, concentrating on painting, I wasn't thinking about anything else. Which mostly meant, I was NOT thinking about cancer.
I had tried everything they recommend to relax–Meditation, yoga, guided imagery, music, nature–none of it worked. But painting the bisque was magic. It's something about working with your hands, and needing to focus and concentrate. Everything else floated away.
I still had no talent, but I loved it and I kept painting. And then something happened.
The flow of ideas continued as I discovered mosaics, and other outlets, including this blog. I have no idea where this creativity was buried during its long latent phase before I had cancer. I just know that it still hasn't stopped. And at some point someone told me that you are an artist if you believe you are.