I’ve been thinking about this lately.
My report card from middle school. A regular “A” student and good kid, but something is wrong in Art class. I remember being unsatisfied and I don’t remember why. I can’t recall the teacher’s face. She was mediocre and made it clear that I was a mediocre art student (B’s were mediocre in my family and the highlighting is mine). And by the way, I was good at Math but I didn’t like Math. That “A” had very little to do with “Like”. I liked art, my friends, writing, playing sports and reading.
My old work from 2002 when I was inspired to pick up a paint brush and paint. I painted from photographs, read books and pushed through countless so-so paintings (I only kept the best of them). I was heartened knowing that Frida Khalo didn’t start painting until she was 19 when she was suddenly bedridden and immobile after a horrible accident. I always thought creative talent was a birthright and to be an artist you needed to express it in youth like the genius Mozart. (I can’t comprehend that statement now, especially after having kids.) The realization that this wasn’t true inspired me to work, knowing the more I worked the better I would get.
And now, 2015.
Painting is important to me because painting is an act of love, and one that I’ve committed to making the center of my life. Love at the center of life – that is powerful.
It is easy to blame that teacher for stifling my creative expression. It is easy to blame a culture that creates the fantasy that talent, (especially creative talent), is born, not worked for. Or I can blame my “Type A” family that let that “B” slide because it was Art class and therefor not important.
But faults are in the past. Blame is useless. Blaming takes no responsibility for the future. I tell my kids, there is no use telling me whose fault it is, the question really is “How will you move forward learning from the experience?”
It is never too late to start answering that question. How would you?