While loading Mr. Mom in the DVD player:
Me: Ok kids this is a funny movie, but it’s an old one.
Chandler: Does it have Elvis in it?
I’ve been a very creative person since birth. When people say that being an artist is a gift, well it’s true. You can learn techniques and processes but if you aren’t born with ‘the eye’ it makes things more difficult to grasp and excel. I was drawing perfect circles/straight lines by hand at a very young age and I’ve always had an ability to tell when things are ‘off’ visually.
I’ve basically been drawing in some sort of fashion since I was like two years old. I was voracious (college word) artist. I would draw on anything I could find. I actually have white paper plates that my Grandmother saved from when I was six or seven I think. She didn’t have any paper for me so she threw me some paper plates. I drew Dyno-mutt, Flintstones, Scooby, etc. Whatever was on the Saturday morning cartoons.
As I grew so did my imagination. I found myself drawn (no pun) to pencils and pens as my medium of choice mainly because they were very cheap and very abundant in my environments. Notebook paper was my canvas. I was fortunate enough to grow up during the first Star Wars craze. All those monsters and creatures! Talk about sparking the imagination. Although art was great it did get me in trouble several times in school.
All this continued through school. I took all the art classes I could in junior high and high school (what few there were). I also had some musical chops from my mother’s end of the gene pool and had been involved in school plays and choirs all through my school career. With the lack of graphic arts outlets music was another great outlet for my ever-crowded brain.
My creativity had to take a break for about four years while I went through my Army tour. But even there once my commander found out I was an artist I was tasked with creating unit patches and squad caricatures. Not quite what I expected to be doing in the US Army for sure. But it did make me realize that I was definitely NOT an Army Lifer and I needed to get out and get back to school and do something with the gift(s) I had been given.
So back to school I went. Going through community college was probably the most fun time in my life up to that point. I was immersed in two of my favorite things… art and people. I had so many friends which fed my extrovert nature and the energy I drew from them helped me get through all those Art History and color theory classes. I actually took three 5000 word art humanities classes at the same time (so stupid of me LOL) and had art classes which required a lot of actual artwork. Needless to say I thrived and it didn’t really seem that difficult. I can only attribute this to the fact I was born with ‘the eye’ and that allowed me to grasp concepts quickly.
So during this very creative period I met this beautiful little blonde. I began my pursuit of course… and was rejected of course. But I was undaunted. We had settled into a comfortable friendship and all was well. Then I decided to give her something very special for Christmas that year. I spent all my spare time trying to get my gift done. I think the actual total time was like 63 hours of work. It was a carousel. But not just a drawing of one, that would be too easy and was not impressive. LOL I made it 3-D. Each horse was made up of several pieces which made them appear three-dimensional. Those were then laid on top of the main plat form of the carousel, etc. It was quite the undertaking. I even had it professionally framed. The gift was presented to my friend as it was one of her favorite things… carousels.
Long story short, that gift was the ice-breaker and she and I started dating soon after that. The friend was of course my wonderful wife Rebecca. She’s told me before that that gift was what made her heart change towards me. The following year I made a followup but is was a single horse and it was extremely detailed. We still have the pieces and they are hanging in our youngest daughter’s bedroom. She likes them a lot. LOL
So now starts the dry-spell, a lot of things happened over the next several years and if I had to pick out a single word to describe the cause of my creative dehydration it would have to be ‘RESPONSIBILITY’. I don’t think there is one thing that is more detrimental to an artist than things that take the focus of the craft. I had become a husband, then a father, then a father again, and again. Priorities shift and slide and suddenly years have passed and you look and notice that, other than some creative bedroom wall painting, you haven’t produced anything truly physically creative.
So this brings me to where I am today. In my forties, the kids aren’t babies anymore, have a career that allows for creative thinking, a supportive wifey, and no excuses left. The beginning of my mid-life has one giant nagging symptom… Creative Constipation. I suppose it could be worse. I mean I’m not chasing twenty-something co-eds at the local sports-bar, or buying a Harley and going all scruffy and leather biker-ish.But for someone like me not having a creative outlet can be just as destructive.
The last few months I have all these ideas in my head but because of the years of artistic atrophy I’m finding that my creative muscles are weak. All the musical instruments I dabbled in as a child, but never mastered mock me now. I miss the idea of just going into the garage and throwing paint on a canvas. I guess I miss the freedom it always provided. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy and I would never change anything in my life, but there’s this voice in my head (no not the one telling me to eat the dog) that just keeps spewing ideas into my brain.
I’ve recently written a song (lyrics and melody) but sadly have no instrument to play it on. It’s like that in my head. All the ideas of WHAT to do and HOW to do it but no mechanism to get it all done. It’s extremely frustrating for someone like me. I have all these great art ideas but no real studio to bring them out of my brain and into reality. The only word I can use to describe is constipated. I’m backed up and sadly it’s becoming a bit painful. I resort to just tuning out so my brain doesn’t have to think.
I think I’m going to clean out the garage. I mean really clean it out. I want to make my half a place where I can encourage my kids to express themselves. My oldest daughter, Sierra, is extremely talented and obviously inherited my gifts. An example, when she draws an eye she gets every part, even the light highlights that most people don’t even see. It’s pretty amazing to see. I want to encourage her art. She’s a high-strung child and I think it would really help her to express herself. Of course the other kids are welcome to come play as well. There’s a reason creative people like lofts and big, open studios.
I guess the bottom line is I need to find a way to get all this stuff out. I mean I sing at church, but honestly once a month isn’t enough for me. This was one of the reasons I stopped singing back in my late teens. I couldn’t perform enough and I got frustrated and decided better to just stop and focus on art rather than get disappointed that I couldn’t sing as much as my brain wanted. It wasn’t an ego thing at all, but again that voice in my head saying “SING SING SING!”
I think I’ve lost focus on this post LOL. This is an example of the build up and me having to get it out in some fashion just so I can function.
I’ll let you all know if I find a cure… I wonder if there is anything like Creative Fiber?