Finding our Inner Artist

By Barbara Swan, Artist in Residence
Rex Art Supplies

Having a creative outlet, such as drawing or painting or writing poetry is of great value emotionally, practically and spiritually, as it helps us develop the right side of our brain, reduces stress, and most importantly, adds tremendously to the quality, joy and passion of our lives. Yet most of us neglect this vital and integral side of our nature.


The list goes something like this:

I’m just not creative;
I have no talent;
I can’t draw a straight line;
I can’t write;
I have no time;
When I do have 30 minutes to relax I don’t need more pressure;
I used to paint (draw, do photography)in college, but now I’m busy with the kids;
I have more important things I need to accomplish;
I’m just NOT creative.

I’m the daughter and granddaughter of artists, and thank God, they brought me up to believe that ALL human beings are creative and have talent; most just don’t know it, because somewhere along the line growing up, some well meaning teacher or parent gave the wrong message and told them they didn’t.

And, in addition to being told they’re not talented, most children are also given the message that art is just an unimportant pastime, or that REAL art is for geniuses…who by the way are often viewed as fruits, neurotics, hippies or sissies. And since we are a society that bases success upon material rewards and job status rather than wholeness, balance, and inner satisfaction, it’s not surprising that art and music programs are cut drastically, and that in better schools our children are placed under undue stress to compete fiercely for class rating and status by age five.

And yes, the right college and career and home certainly are important, but so is acknowledging the need to waken our subconscious talents, develop our creative side and inspire the artist within.

So how to begin?

First, pick something you’ve always secretly wanted to do, if you had time and talent and take a beginner’s class…at the local community center, or high school or college. If you once did paint, or sculpt or draw or write, start doing it again. ANYONE can learn to draw, ANYONE can develop technique, and if you once had it, a little practice and patience will bring it back. And yes, you CAN find an hour or two a week.

If you can’t seem to get past the dreaming to the doing stage, take a class or plan a creative weekly afternoon hour or two with a friend. It’s like the gym, a partner motivates us.

Be committed. Make sure that you set aside time every week that’s designated your “creative time.” Put it in your calendar or PDA along with all you other “have to do’s.”

Set aside a place in your apartment or house that’s your creative corner where you can keep your supplies accessible without having to drag them out of the closet every time you want to work on your project.

If you have a hard time working on your projects because your child always wants to “help”, give him/her an area in which to work (near you) and their own supplies to use. Encourage them to explore their own creativity and create their own beautiful projects.

If taking time from work or family or “constructive” duties fills you with guilt, remember that inspiring the creative and awakening the artist in you is not only constructive, but necessary, and will positively impact all the other areas of your life and fill you with joy and energy.

It takes a little time and a little effort…. and it takes erasing the negative messages you were once given….but the rewards are immeasurable.

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