Throughout high school, I always evenly distributed my course load between academic subjects, so I could get into university one day, and art classes because I was always good at art. Good, not great. If I was great at art then I wouldn't feel the need to hedge my bets with the academic classes would I?
The problem with my artistic endeavours was that I was a perfectionist, and I couldn't just let myself be free with my drawing and painting. If it wasn't 'picture' perfect, it just wasn't good enough, and it crippled my creativity. I would spend tortuous hours, drawing and rubbing out, painting and painting over, everything I did. It was so I didn't really enjoy the craft. I did it because it was a fairly easy way to get good grades. Even the subject matter wasn't really something that I felt deep within my soul. It was simply chosen to satisfy the criteria of my assignments. I wasn't a true artist, and it is probably all well and good that I never really chased that dream.
|Painting of St Basil's Cathedral done in Year 12.|
See that top spire? It's lopsided, but I'm learning to ignore it.
I met my Grade 12 art teacher on the street a couple of years after graduation. During the course of our conversation, I felt the inexplicable need to tell him that I was no longer doing art. What did I think, that he would be pleased to hear that his art students were so uninspired that they dropped art the minute they left the classroom? Why did I feel the need to say it? It's because I wanted him to tell me that it was some grand mistake and that I should be nurturing my talent and that I should go back to that canvas and paint, Shelly, paint! I wanted him to stroke my ego. He didn't. In fact, there was kind of an awkward silence. We struggled for something further to say, and we parted ways with a small wave.
Was I right not to go after a career where the assessment of your work is so subjective, where my perfectionism would be a hinderance? Probably, but I can't help but wonder what it would have been like to be in a more creative role today. I love to look at artwork and I appreciate the effort it takes to create it.
|"Rainbow Web" - A drawing I did for the boys' playroom. |
I liked everything except the actual spider.
Now that I am older, I'd like to have a crack at drawing and painting for the sake of it, allowing myself to make mistakes, to rip off the page or paint over the canvas and start again, or heaven forbid...leave the imperfection there. So I'd like to start with drawings on scrap paper so I won't care if I make a mistake and have to chuck the paper in the bin. Who knows? With practice, I might be able to create something that I like. Mr F, you can rest easy, I won't let this extraordinary talent go to waste! I know you were worried, for the sake of art lovers everywhere!
Do you have any talents that are lying latent? I reckon it's never too late to stoke that fire, unless you wanted to become a child actor, I'm afraid it's too late for that.