Even though I have a studio and I make mosaics and people buy them, I have to confess that I'm kind of embarrassed to describe myself as an artist. I feel like someone's going to come and arrest me for impersonating an artist. Because I was always artistically challenged.
My mother never kept a single piece of my childhood artwork. C's in Art kept me off the honor roll. I could not draw a dog or a horse. I couldn't even appreciate art, or fully understand it. I didn't have enough confidence to pick out fabric for a couch. I figured me and art were not meant for each other.
And that's how it was until the day I took Daniel to one of those little studios where you could paint your own ceramics. I was still reeling from my cancer diagnosis a year earlier, and it was all I could think about--even as I made this attempt for quality time with Daniel.
He was 8; and he finished his project in about 8 minutes. I went back to finish mine the next day. And even though it looked like it was painted by a kid Daniel's age, I had enjoyed it. And I thought maybe I'd try something else.
V's birthday was coming up, so I chose a picture frame. This time there was a little more pressure, so I gave more time and thought to the colors and design.
In retrospect, what's most embarrassing is that I actually gave this to V for his birthday.
Sometimes people don't believe me when I say I had no artistic talent. I think they will now.
It wasn't the product, it's the process. I had never done anything artistic, or even crafty. Now I wanted to go back and paint again. By the fourth or fifth time, I was hooked. And pretty soon, I figured out why. While I sat there, concentrating on painting, I wasn't thinking about anything else. Which mostly meant, I was NOT thinking about cancer.
I had tried everything they recommend to relax--Meditation, yoga, guided imagery, music, nature--none of it worked. But painting the bisque was magic. It's something about working with your hands, and needing to focus and concentrate. Everything else floated away.
I still had no talent, but I loved it and I kept painting. And then something happened.
The flow of ideas continued as I discovered mosaics, and other outlets, including this blog. I have no idea where this creativity was buried during its long latent phase before I had cancer. I just know that it still hasn't stopped. And at some point someone told me that you are an artist if you believe you are.