Creativity Information

Find the Artist Within

Can anyone be an artist?

People admiring my work often say, "I could never do that!" I say, "Yes, you can!"

Eight years ago, during a very difficult time in my career in finance (Downsizings, layoffs - let's not talk about it, OK?), my company sent me to a development workshop for female executives.

I came out of a particularly thought-provoking discussion group and penned the following very prophetic free verse.

Threads They Said

Mimi said, "Why don't you paint again?"
I said, "There's no time. I crunch numbers now."

Carole said, "You can do it!"
I said, "No. I don't think so."

Cheryl said, "You have an artist within. Reach down. Bring it out."
I said, "My numbers ? they pay the bills.
Though, God knows, they don't feed the soul anymore!"

Martha said, "There's a strength within you."
I asked, "They why do I feel so weak, so beaten?"

Bob said, "Reach for the sky. Be your mother's daughter.
Write poetry. Perhaps the answer lies within."
I reached. I created. I wrote. I discovered.

The threads came together.
I design tee-shirts now.
On a glorious sunny beach.
I write my musings in between.
And share them with other artists
--- like me.

I didn't really dwell on these thoughts at the time since I ended up taking early retirement and had no intention of going back to work. "Threads They Said" got filed away with my other work files. I only unearthed it recently and was stunned to realize how it all has come true. Except we don't live on a glorious sunny beach, we live on a mountainside overlooking a beautiful lake - close enough for me! And now you are some of the other artists I share my musings with!

I believe anyone with a creative eye can be an artist. If you know what you like when you see it, you can be an artist. If you know what someone else will like, you can be a commercial artist. You only need to find your medium or craft.

To find the artistic spirit within you:

1. Think about your abilities, not your dis-abilities; what you can do, not what you can't. Maybe you're good with the computer. Think graphic arts. Maybe you wield a mean needle. Think of practical sewn items to which you can add artistic touches. Today with the endless supply of craft materials and kits to get you started, there's something for everyone - or I should say - something for every artist.

2. Determine your bliss. I once read that if a woman thinks back to what she most enjoyed when she was between 8 and 11, she can identify her bliss. For men, it's between 10 and 14. They mature later, you know - some women would say never. If, at that age, you were always making "stuff" (doesn't matter what) and loved having your own crayons (that no one else was allowed - under penalty of death - to touch) and maybe your own set of colored pencils, art and crafting could be your bliss. If you took particular joy in actually producing something - an end product - rather than just messing with all those neat (or should I say, messy) paints, you almost certainly have an artist within.

3. Browse a local crafts superstore or Internet crafting sites (please start by browsing around!). Go up and down the aisles, whether virtual or real, and see what appeals to you. Purchase a few kits. [Aside: If you intend to sell what you make from the get-go, be sure to consider what will also appeal to your future customers.]

4. Don't be afraid to try something new. To me, a sub-definition of artist is "someone who is always trying something new" - new techniques, new media. You have ittle to lose - the cost of a kit or a few tubes of paint - and very much to gain!

You have permission to publish this article electronically
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by Eileen Bergen
The Artful Crafter

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