“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” ~Pablo Picasso
When I was in high school (a couple of years back.. ahem) I was rarely found without paint on my hands or clothes. I filled my electives with studio art classes and music. I loved creating. I loved using my life force to generate a positive reaction in people. Art, music and people were my passion …
one of my art teachers told me I wasn’t very good. Owieeee, I got a negative reaction. In that very moment I traded my art joy for his art perception. I made a conscious choice to stop doing what I loved and I let his opinion define me. I gave away my power and gave up something very dear to me and I betrayed myself.
He was right, at least from where he was sitting. My line drawing was unrealistic. My depth perception was imbalanced. I used a ton of different colors.
Now some 20 years later I ask myself, is being considered “good” the only reason to do something? I mean, our money-centered culture defines success as getting paid for what you do.
Until a couple of years ago, this was the last thing I painted, a painting I LOVED yet left unfinished my senior year of high school. It used to bother me that I never finished it. My dear friend Eliza gave me oil paints so I could finish it, but now I find great comfort looking at her as she is, unfinished. She represents a significant life lesson that took me nearly 20 years to learn: to create for my personal joy–the joy of being a creative human–not to create exclusively for the approval of others.
Success has two definitions and our culture favors the 2nd.
1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose. 2. The attainment of popularity or profit.
I’ve got a challenge for us: Let’s redefine success, shall we? Let’s say that success really means doing something with joy, simply for the sake and joy of being human and creative–because we can! What do you think?
You may have noticed through some of my posts I have re-found and reclaimed my art joy! Hooray!!! (Now I call it my heART joy!) My creations come exclusively from my HEART, so I perhaps I’m a heARTist?!
I am deeply grateful to my children, my husband and my amazing friends for encouraging and supporting me back to creativity and to my art. I have profound gratitude to my art teacher, for giving me the possibility of this personal reclamation.
I have found my art joy–my heART joy–and I’m creating, painting, and coloring my life again. I have found the courage to create and get out of my head and live from my heart, and value my opinions. I have stopped criticizing and judging myself so harshly. I accept that I am not perfect; I am a work in progress.
I am me. I am the only ME in the universe (at least that I know of). I have only one life to be me (as far as I know), and I want to be the fullest, most creative and expressive ME I can be. I want to SHINE and inspire my children, like they have me, and I want to help others let go and define success differently, and to liberate others from the impossible perpetual external approval hunt.
You are the only YOU in the entire universe. You matter. Your opinion matters. What is YOUR heart joy? Have you always known your heart joy, or did you make yourself forget? Do you remember?
♥ becky jaine ♥
heartist in residence
7 thoughts on “♥ heARTist in residence ♥”
I love this painting, too, Becky. And I’m really happy that you didn’t listen to that instructor for the rest of your life — think what we would have missed out on!
Thank you so much for sharing how your joy was squelched. If we search our memory banks, especially from childhood, I think most of us will remember a time we thought we should back away from something rather than embarrass ourselves by our not being good enough by someone else’s standards. I wish we could find a way to stop this from happening!
Thank you for your comments. Yes, sadly Linda, we all have painful experiences dimming our lights. I must share that I am deeply grateful that this happened to me and especially for my art teacher, who taught me so much! Not just in artistic technique, but in the process of reclamation. Had I not given up my art, it wouldn’t mean as much to me today, so by losing it for 20 years I have gained a much deeper love for creating … not only things I make, but in experiencing things made by others.
My life story is a wee bit different. I loved art when young and have loved it ever since, even studying at The Coope Union in NYC. I remember Louis Tytell, my art teacher, way back, when I may have been 11 years old or so. He liked my art, and he often gave me feedback of how it could be different or better or this or that and I was often pouty when he kept giving me advice (well, he WAS an art teacher after all!). He told me something to the effect that I needed to be able to take criticism and he clearly didn’t like my not wanting to listen to him. He didn’t stop me from liking art, or getting more seriously involved in art, but I must admit, I’ve never taken criticism well. I hide my pout behind courteous adult responses. BUT if I’m not really MOVED BY something someone says about any of my art (that includes ministry), my mind just “walks” the other way! I have the feeling most of the time that more often than not, I’m making good choices in my creativity work. I have cofidence in my ability AND MY TALENT!
Wonderful, Joan. Thank you for sharing. I’d LOVE to see your art and creations!
That painting is actually quite beautiful, Becky!