Yesterday me and Carys were painting some little pendants we had made from air drying clay. And not for the first time I noticed the completely unconcious way my little girl used the paint, happily daubing her creations with turquoise, pink and blue. She wasn’t afraid to ask how to mix the colours, and what would happen if we mixed them all together. There was no hesitation in her experimenting, no element of self conciousness, no fear, and no shame in what she was creating. Carys made art from her happy little soul, she didn’t care a bit what anyone else might think, that didn’t even come into it – she was happy with paint on her hands, making something that she thought was fabulous.
Once upon a time, I went through a phase of being afraid of creating stuff. I would sit in panic looking at my art pad, paralysed by fear that I couldn’t do it – I mean, what if someone laughed at what I’d done or critiscised it? And, shock of shocks, what if I made a mess on the paper and ruined it!!! I was horrified that my work wouldn’t look as good as the artists that I admired, and I felt awkwardness and shame because I didn’t think I wasn’t good enough.
Taking the first steps in art can be a scary process – and it’s because creating something that comes from deep within us is a personal expression, whether it’s painting, knitting or sculpture. To lay that bare for people to see, for even ourselves to see, can be a big deal; especially if we’ve been listening to those Little Voices.
Ah yes. Those.
You might be familiar with them; they’re the ones that whisper that we’re no good, and tell us our work sucks. They’re the ones who make us feel hopeless.
Children don’t hear those voices – they create stuff because it feels good to them. They don’t care. Children shine their little lights and everything they do is wonderful, the best part about this is that they know it too; nobody has told them otherwise yet.
Start off Small. That is, think like a small person – ignore the critical voices, whether they be in your mind or for real and create something just for fun. Let your guard down, be brave, don’t be afraid to make a mark on the paper now. Try something new, a medium you’ve never worked with but secretly always wanted to. Do something that feels outrageous to you, life is very short and it’s vital that we believe that we are able to do what we enjoy, whether as a new part time hobby or a full scale venture that we hope to turn into a business someday.
Find yourself a scoop of inner courage and think Small. Do it. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be sat here writing this to you today.
Much love to you, and thanks for visiting today