Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Being Myself = A Creative Journey

As a child I often talked about what I was going to be when I "grew-up".  For a long time the answer was fixed on one thing ... an Artist.  I had little influence in that area outside of the TV.  I knew of two artists; Bob Ross (The Joy of Painting) and Mark Kistler (Secret City) who I followed diligently on PBS.  Mark Kistler taught me perspective and proportion; how to make things look 3-D such as looking at a box on the floor or standing in a room.  Bob Ross ... well he was just magical to watch. His talent radiated from his being and reflected off of the canvas' in front of him. Bob made me want to create and Mark showed me that I could.

As an only child living on a Christmas Tree farm (how many kids can say that?) my world was full of observation and imagination. My days were full of creativity ... it might have been displayed in my art projects, my tap-dance routines or the mini-plays I'd make-up and perform for family. It was freeing and fun and helped to develop who I am.

I was the one who decided what I was capable of and what I wasn't ... I could be or do anything I wanted and I felt proud. That eventually changed and the outside world was let in. I suddenly cared what people thought. I found myself in a vacuum, doubt and rejection flooded all that I had known. 

I remember one day in particular when I had come home from school and showed my mom and grandma a picture I had drawn and I was immediately yelled at. I was accused of lying. But I didn't lie, I drew the picture from my own imagination. My brain created this character that I could visualize and then my brain sent signals to down my arm, into my wrist, through my palm and extended into my fingertips. The signals were fast and precise, circle here, straight line there on and on until the pencil marks mirrored the image in my head, I was really excited ... I was in first grade and my mom and grandma were yelling at me because they thought I traced the picture.  

I was in tears, a call to my teacher was made and confirmed I had indeed drew the picture and had not traced it. They came to me with apologies and wanted to hang my drawing on the refrigerator. It was too late, I was hurt and picture ... I tore it up and threw it away.  As much as I loved what I had drawn it wasn't worth being accused of lying. I don't lie and I don't forget.

It wouldn't be the last time I was forced to prove who I was and what I was capable of. In the 6th grade I began playing the clarinet and I was a natural. My teacher was amazed at how well I was able to play and how I was able to to follow the book and teach myself to read music. I went to my grandparent's house to show them my new instrument. When I began to play my grandma stopped me and said it was a trick. She looked up the horn of my clarinet and then in the case that stood by my feet ... she was looking for a tape-recorder. There was no way that I could possibly be making music, I was after all 12 and a nobody special.

It took until I was 18 and had been sitting 1st chair for 3 years in my high school concert band and was accepted into the school of music to study music performance at the University of Minnesota for some people to finally realize I wasn't just hitting the play button the tape recorder, but that I had talent... for a variety of artistic outlets. 

Music wouldn't be where my career path lead me, but it definitely started the journey. I realized the world would always include those who challenged me and that I would need to solidify who I was if I was to stand against the wind of ridicule and speculation. 

That is a journey I am still on. It took me a long time to find my identity again ... I was more then the reflection in the mirror. I had to look for and encourage my soul. At 28 I was at a cross roads, I could either continue on the road to obscurity and self-loathing or I could head back to the tunnel and search for the light.

I chose the light. I hate to say I found a great life-coach when I feel like She found me, but however you word it she was able to give me the necessary tools, push, encouragement and all the things that "I" needed to get me to find myself.   I was able to overcome many road blocks and all the detours led me to achieve my goal of  becoming a nationally certified and working ASL interpreter! 

I found that I make a better ME than then me trying to be like you. I am much more sure of myself and once again reconnecting with the dream of becoming an artist. I feel like I am starting over in that area, but its grip is tight and I am accepting of the trials and tribulations it takes me on. I love making things and trying new techniques.  When I get in the zone I feel carefree like the kid I was when being a natural was natural. 
I'm unsure of what is to become of all of this, but I only see good things in my future. I'm nurturing my love of writing by blogging for a local blog called and am supporting my mixed-media love by taking some classes, one of which starts next Monday, How to Paint an Owl!!  

This little mixed-media piece I'm work on right now is titled "Behind the Mask".  I have not yet added the mask, and she was originally going to be in a castle ... but then the Birch Tree emerged out of the green teal color I had painted. I just learned today that Birch Trees are a symbol of beginnings, renewal and starting-over. In addition they are a symbol for communication (because you can peal the bark to write on it) and protection!! I painted this a few days ago (before I knew the symbolism).  We had birch trees in our yard on the tree farm ... I loved them.  

* I just wanted to add that my Grandma is a wonderful person and despite the speculation of my talents (as a child), she always meant/means well :)

1 comment:

  1. i SO remember writing on birch-tree bark! thanks for that memory, Verne. :)


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