My Artful Essence
I have many memories from before I started school, like learning to whistle and discovering there is no such word as “worser”. I began honing my portraiture skills at age 3 when I drew in my older brother’s Dick and Jane readers. I couldn’t wait to start school so I could learn things like he was learning and have my own readers to draw in. Imagine my dismay on my first day of kindergarten when Miss Hamilton told me I wouldn’t need the pencil, ruler, eraser and scribbler I’d so proudly brought with me. When I got home I told my mother with disgust, “All we did was play!”
Perhaps even then I took life a bit too seriously but my desire to learn and my creative drive – whether refining my vocabulary, drawing, whistling or making things - were evident at that early age. Oh … and I’ve since learned how important play is too.
One of my biggest challenges is choosing what to pursue. I love drawing and in my late teens I’d stay up until 3:00 a.m. filling my sketchbooks. I made clay ornaments for craft shows and designed Christmas cards for family and friends. I designed, drew, sewed, built and painted. When a new idea caught my attention, I often tried it out by making gifts – gourmet food baskets, one-of-a-kind shelf units and dart board cabinets, hand-painted T-shirts and sneakers just to name a few. When I didn’t have much money for Christmas gifts as a child, I made sure I did the fanciest wrapping job I could. I’ve tried my hand at silk-screening, doll making, hard-shelled gourd carving, fabric embellishment, needle-felting and twig furniture. I took creative writing classes and rediscovered my delight with words.
Now I know I’m what Barbara Sher, author of Refuse to Choose, calls a “scanner” – a person with a “multiplicity of interests” and difficulty choosing and, often, finishing things. Barbara advises trying them all and resisting society’s pressure to choose one thing and stick with it. I choose to follow her advice!
In my 30s I quit my government job to make my living hand-painting silk fashions. I ultimately returned to my job as a business analyst. While it didn’t provide much of a creative outlet, it did better meet my need for mental challenges … as well as for food and shelter! Once again the artistic me had to be satisfied on evenings and weekends.
After playing out the last several years of my analyst career working in a large IT department, I am now happy to be back at the fun stuff. I spend many hours creating jewellery and other artful embellishments and photographic art. Of course, other ideas pop into my head regularly, like wondering what it would be like to be a watchmaker, play the saxophone again after 40 years or make a life-sized marionette. My interests could change again tomorrow but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying creating with my photographs for a few years and expect to get several more years of fulfillment from it yet.
Contrary to the well-meaning advice I often receive, I will continue to stay up until 3:00 a.m. on occasion to play, learn and create, and will share the results with you here.