Life has its ups and downs and I am rising up from one of its less than pleasant episodes. The past few weeks I have been feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. It happens. I think it happens to all of us. Through all of it I have learned this... I tend to put more pressure on myself than any outside force ever has. It may not be necessary to always see the whole. Maybe parts, bits, pieces are enough. Those who live life with blinders on may not always be myopic, just a little more focused.
At school, we launched our Earth Day recycled art project 2 weeks ago. The art teacher has even offered extra credit points for bringing something in. There is still only my owl hanging on the very large bulletin board. And I thought with over 400 students in the school we would run out of room for the art. I can understand with busy schedules and spring weather (finally) that even my own two girls have not made anything yet.
When I emptied the plastic container of Parmesan cheese, I held up the lid at the dinner table.
"What does this look like?"
Ellie replied, "I don't know? A dog?"
I said "It's totally a FROG!"
They still didn't see it. I had to try to describe why I thought it did.
I told this story to 2 moms at school this morning as we looked at the blank Earth Day wall.
They said "See. You are so creative. Nobody thinks that way, but an artist."
Many of my friends are artists. I know lots of designers and lots of painters. If we were all in a room together they would agree with me on the frog or offer up a huge long list of other possibilities for my cheese can lid. Therefore, I think being creative is quite ordinary.
Then I find myself in a room full of people who all proclaim "I am not at all creative. I don't know how to make anything." Sometimes they act like I am a genius or a little bit of a freak for being even the least bit creative. (That's why I find comfort in hanging around artists.) I believe everyone is creative and people who say they are not were educated to NOT be creative. This is why I should be teaching art to children and "non-creative" adults.
I'd like to hear what you have to say. Please leave comments.
Does my cheese can lid look like a frog to you?
Do you have any other ideas about the cheese can lid?
Do you think all people have the potential to be a genius, or creative in some way and are taught that they are not? (intentionally or unintentionally)
Don't you think the word extraordinary is peculiar? It sounds like it is describing something more ordinary than ordinary. Extra-ordinary.
This was my mandala that I painted for the IF topic of "focused" (but didn't post). One of Ellie's friends was over when I was painting it.
I saw her recently and she said "Miss Patti, did you ever finish that painting that you were working on while I was at your house?"
I said, "Not really. I didn't like it much and I put it away in a drawer."
She told me she liked it very much and didn't understand why I wouldn't. I told her artists do that often – set paintings aside for a while. Sometimes you take a few steps back, sometimes you walk away completely and the paintings might look a little different after some time has passed.
At the time, I found this piece to be mundane. Not the painting itself so much, but I felt that I had painted so many similar mandalas that I could not do it anymore.
My current situation finds me experiencing much discordance and coming back to this – I don't find it boring, but calm and harmonic.
To add to all this, Maya recently argued with me that she does not like art at all because it is BORING. I held up painting after painting and she told me every one was BORING. She is an adolescent, so it is a healthy transition to express her own individual self, but I still tried to defend myself and my art. After a few minutes of banter I gave up.
Maya loves music and has a gift for it. I tried to explain to her that a painting is like music to your eyes. There's movement, emphasis, harmony, rhythm, all the same elements music has, only it's visual. She did not agree. I'm thinking about taking every piece of art off the walls in our house and see what she says. If I told her to imagine the world without art, I don't think she would try. . . because her mother made the suggestion.
My recent work has been highly influenced by music and playing drums on Beatles Rock Band has added to my appreciation for rhythm - audible and visual. A painting can be like a song. It doesn't have to be deeply profound and encompass everything at once. It could just make you feel good for a few short moments.
Three years ago I was nominated to be the chairperson for Earth Day activities at school. Having already been characterized as the granola loving tree hugging nature girl, I'm a little shy about voicing my opinions and I have played it pretty low key so far. This year, Jodi (who was inspired by her son's creativity) suggested that we have the kids make art projects out of recycled trash. Needless to say, I love this idea! So here is my sample project to get the ball rolling.
It started with that little plastic ring seal from the gallon of milk. After grabbing the second plastic ring off the next gallon, I thought of eyes - owl eyes. The idea grew from there. Bottle caps completed the eyes. The nose is a lemon from the 7up box. The head, body and wing are cut out of cereal boxes. Feathers are cardboard tubes and granola bar boxes (yes, granola). The feet are drinking straws and twisty-ties. I enjoyed the paper sculpting so much, I'm thinking of a larger project for this year's Trash to Treasure Show.