A Little White Space

David at authorblog posed a question this week. “What do you want most out of life?” This left me pondering – not just the obvious knee-jerk responses that I have, but what I really want and why. It’s more complicated then an easy answer. But a few days later he posted this challenge. I admit, I found myself emotional [blubbering like a baby wouldn't be too off course here]; I struggle with the blank page on a weekly basis. I struggle with whether or not I have a creative gift and, more so, why I don’t thrive in it.

For me, these two things are hand-in-hand. I just never put it together on paper before.

To Just Add Color is what I really want out of my life. In other words to have undaunted passion for what I am interested in [my creative aspirations] and what I already have [full 24/7 contentment] ...a deep gut-wrenching passion is what I desire. Odd, I know. But it seems that the wounds of life have left me somewhat more scared then not and often I don’t trust my own abilities and gifting. Even admitting that on paper makes me squirm.

It's in the genes...

My grandmother painted with oils.

My mother drew with chalks.

They each knitted, crocheted and were sewing mavens! I had baby doll clothes, Barbie doll clothes, handmade dolls, pillows, animals. In high school I would design an outfit, pick out the fabric and my mom would sew it.

While I was in Jr. High my mom asked me if I wanted to go to the local Catholic high school because she felt I would get more attention in Art. At the time I was in the heels of high school, trying to fit in and finding my niche. The Catholic high school had a reputation for being the school that you were sent to if you got kicked out of all the other schools. Honestly, between wearing a uniform and the fear of the tough kids, I didn’t want to go there.

So off to public school I went. I excelled in art classes, theater classes, creative writing and photography. So what happened? Let’s see, art was an “expensive” endeavor with the continual cost of paint, pencils, canvas, accessories, etc.; and was quickly overshadowed by theater; while in theater there was the girl in my class that got all the parts I went up for. Creative writing went well in high school but in college I had a teacher that harshly critiqued the very style that was already “me”. Photography, well, I touched on that one here. I now realize how much I really loved it and was, once again, guided away because “it is an expensive hobby”.

I received a lot of “go to secretarial school advice” from old-school minded family members when they found out my major in College was Theater. After a while you start to think “Well if they don’t believe in me, why should I? Maybe they’re right; maybe I don’t have any talent…” That’s not what they meant. But that’s how I took it, consciously and unconsciously.

So over the years my passion waned and so did my desire to create. But I’m a fighter and I don’t go down with out a fight, even if it's a wimpy one.

Shortly after my mother passed away a few years ago, I decided why can’t I be a good artist? Why can’t I draw portraits? So I did just that. That’s how I tend to approach all things “artist”. It must be the Irish in me. If only I could bottle it for the other 90% of my life.

From top left to right: my father, self portrait, my roommate E. at the time, picture from art book, Gary Oldman-actor, picture from art book.

The blank page can still scare the H. E. L. L. out of me every time I look at it. [Ironically, I look at it often because I have an entire organization looking to me for their print media needs weekly now. How did that happen?]

I’m still trying to figure it out. That’s why I’m here; to embrace my creative accomplishments, to get inspired, to revive some passion, to not live in fear of failure and to strive for more… As an artist, Out of life, From God, For my husband, For my son.

To just add color to my piece of the world.


Anonymous said...

Those are AMAZING. Your story is typical of a lot of people who see art as an early love. They eventually get steered from it but come back. I hope you continue to be inspired.

Anonymous said...

Love those paintings. The story is terrific, there is real talent there.

Daryl said...

You are GOOD in the way I wish I was ... I hate drawing/painting and then not getting EXACTLY what I see on the paper ... so I gave it up and now I do what I could never do with pen/paper/paint with my camera ...

And blank canvas/paper still freak me out ...


Kat said...

Wow. This post made me cry. Seriously.
The "hobby" that was too expensive? I can relate to that. Mine was dance.
Gorgeous post.
You are superbly (sp? sorry) talented!!!!!

david mcmahon said...

Kathryn sent me here - and I followed the link immediately.

It's an amazing post. You have so much talent. Whether it's in the genes or notis one thing, but congratulations for giving expression to the many talent you have.

Yup, you add so much more than colour. You add your soul.

Christina said...

You have got talent, m'dear! those portraits are wonderful - and more than that, you have the soul for that. Keep going for it with all you've got!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Fab. post. It takes guts to admit when we're letting fear keep us from things, but admitting it tears down that wall. You are very talented! I came from David (and love that he makes us think about these things!).
Keep coloring!!!

mandaroo63 said...

It's a shame isnt' it...that it took so long for us to get back to those things that we really love (I've done the same). That's partly why I homeschool. I want my girls to grow up limitless in doing the things that they love. Be it music, art, theatre, creating. Your artwork is wonderful. I'm glad you are pursuing it and enjoying it once again.

Cara said...

Wow, you are very talented.

I like and idiot gave up piano lesson after 2 years because I didn't think it was cool anymore (I was getting ready to go to high school). Now I really wish I would have stuck it out and really learned.

Louise said...

Came here from Authorblog. This is a fantastic post. "The bad stuff is easier to believe" is a quote I use a lot. You obviously have talent in art. But you also have atalent in writing. Follow your passion and live in full color. No doubt from reading this one post that you can do whatever it is that you want and makes you happy.

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