My mother is a creative being. I don’t mean in the way one’s mom makes ants on a log for a snack or uses a safety pin as a zipper. I mean in a ladybug costume making, Star Wars party throwing, Christmas advent calendar sewing, thank-you card watercoloring, scrapbook compiling, kind of way. She breathes technicolor and dreams in blank canvases.
As you can imagine in my formative years I was exposed to many interesting art projects. Paper making with a sieve, rug weaving, painting furniture, shrink art necklaces, and sewing outfits for teddy, to name a few. Despite the fact that my pores do not seep art like my mother’s, in me she has borne a mind of creativity. I think sometimes my mom believes she failed at teaching me about art because I lack her enviable ambition, her desire to learn new techniques, and take more classes. After all, she has an entire room in her house dedicated to this.
It is true that I possess probably less than 10% of her knowledge but beyond this fact she can be entirely confident that creativity flows within me. Lately however, with two kids to raise art work has been sorely neglected and when I look into my art room my heart is heavy. Colored pencils, paintbrushes, gouache, card stock paper, stickers, albums, it goes on and on. My recent goal of simplifying my life does not run parallel with my collection, plus, each time I attempt to tackle a project I’m paralyzed by the overwhelming possibilities of what to create. What I’m looking at is a complete perpendicular intersection of stagnant stuff and opportunity. One in which I decided I must choose a direction.
I recall a watercolor instructor once stating that she only uses a 1/2” width paintbrush and paints using only Prang watercolors. You know, the kind that kids use in art class. This artist travels all over the country teaching watercolor. Can it really be so simple?
My favorite part about ridding my life of the unessential is that my true passions become revealed. Whether it’s my closet or my kitchen amidst the piles and piles of possessions an unveiling of the soul occurs. When I cleared out my books recently I decided to pick ten which were most important to me and start there. Within the pile were two Spanish books. I haven’t spoken Spanish in years yet I couldn’t let go of either book. I realized the importance of my desire to conquer a second language.
After I finally sat down to clear out my art supplies here’s what I learned:
- No one needs 20 different colors of tags to use as embellishments for scrapbooking.
- Scrapbooking is not my passion.
- 21 coffee stirrers to use as smudging agents are unnecessary.
- Markers, pens, and paint, oh my.
- My passions are watercolor and calligraphy.
Watercolor and calligraphy supplies are what I preserved in my clean out. This purge has been difficult but at this point in my life my art isn’t as important as doing it with my children. I am thrilled when my daughter asks to paint and her smears of color can be proudly displayed on the refrigerator. My own art will come. That blood does not cease to flow it just changes direction.
I hope to pass on to my children at least a fraction of what my mother taught me and I pray that the paint between my fingers lasts into my years of wrinkled smiles and age spotted hands.