Tag Archives: creativity

The Art Of Making Stuff, Making The Pain Going Away, And Making Child Artists

In case you’ve missed my flurry of posts, and so have missed meeting the lovely artisan-crafter behind I Sew Cute and As Luck Would Have It, consider these comments by June on the importance of art your inspiring introduction:

Making stuff is so rewarding on many levels. It really is my therapy, taking my mind of physical pains I have due to two autoimmune diseases, allowing me to get lost in the creative process.

I was a lucky kid to have the folks in my life who made it possible for me to learn and grow as a maker of things and hope I can maybe be that someone for somebody else, encouraging them and giving them the confidence to try…

My sister in law is now a cross stitcher because I gave her a kit one year. And well, you’ve seen my kids.

“Babygirl” (her nickname given her by her brother) was just now begging me to give her the stuff to make bracelets — and they draw every day.

My boy came home from school the other day and told me that someone said he wasn’t an artist. I had to ask him if he thought they were right about that or not. We talked about how everyone can be an artist — if they want to be.

He’s happy about drawing again now.

Is Focusing Your Creativity Important?

At first glance, this cartoon by Emily Flake (originally published in The New Yorker) provides amusing, yet sage, advice:

Maybe if your creativity had fewer outlets, it would come out of you with more force.

But when I think about it, I don’t find such sentiments amusing or wise…

Many people, following the old adage of “practice makes perfect,” think that specializing in one medium or artistic pursuit will make for a greater proficiency. But creativity and art are not necessarily like surgery.

Art does not require perfection. So-called mistakes, even those acknowledged by the artist, do not hurt anyone. But more importantly, creativity is about expression — and the joy of creating.

And joy, like big wet kisses, can be sloppy. (Some people even prefer their art — and kisses — sloppy.)

I think one of the problems people have creating things is this fear of not being perfect. It holds us back, keeps us from expressing ourselves, keeps us from the joy of making.

So does thinking that if we’d only focus on one medium or form of art that we’d get better — because when we do and the “creativity doesn’t come out with better force,” we feel inadequate, talentless.

This expectation of perfection doesn’t inspire us to try another medium, form, or style; it leaves us saying, “Forget it.” But we shouldn’t forget it, we shouldn’t give up on art. We should forget about the expectations of perfection in creating, of any notions of pleasing others with our art.

Even though we know we’d never get past Simon Cowell if we auditioned on Idol, we still enjoy singing in the car or with friends — so why do we limit ourselves when it comes to art?

To answer the titular question of this post, “Is focusing your creativity important?” I say, “Not really.”

At least not the way most folks mean to focus.

I think you should focus on being creative, not so much on the end result — or it’s meeting the standards of others. Just focus on the expression and the joy of making something.

If Art Is Intimidating, What About The Supplies?

When I was about to turn 10, my mother took me out — just her and I — to go shopping for my own gifts. It may sound silly, but at the time it was the coolest thing ever. A few blissful hours in which I was the only kid and had the sole attention and direction of my mother. And her wallet. We even stopped for sundaes too.

The only thing that topped it was the actual gifts I chose.

horse-running-in-gold-field-by-hosslass-artThere was the Louis Marx Comanche horse, the bay with black mane and tail with articulated head and legs; sure to make my sister pea-green with envy. And there was a boxed set of colored pencils — not just any colored pencils, but water color pencils.

Comanche was lovingly played with, surviving far better than most plastic horses, and was eventually given to a younger horse-loving cousin. But the pencils are another story.

I’d had colored pencils for years in school, of course; but these were different. They were water color pencils. They even had a permanent plastic case which stated their magnificence and superiority above the usual temporary cardboard box. These pencils were so prized, so grown-up, so filled with the colors and promise of real art, that they intimidated me. I rarely used them. In fact, 30-odd years later, they sit, looking nearly untouched.

I won’t lie and say that Comanche wasn’t loved; he really was. But I was willing to put him to use as the manufacturer intended. The water color pencils, however, were so loved I didn’t dare use them.

prancing-horse-watercolor-pencil-artWithout getting overly sentimental (and risking sounding like a cliche), it’s really sad to acknowledge that somehow I’ve thought the world needs more loved-into-being-tailless horses more than whatever art I might have made. The world, and I, can survive both.

Memo to self: One of the New Year’s Resolutions is to get out the water color pencils and make something. Maybe even some horses.

Art Credits: Horse Running in Gold Field and Prancing Horse by Hosslass Art.