“I am not an artist.”
That was the thought that ran through my mind as I attended an Art + Drawing Professional Learning Course (PLC) at my school. As I glanced around at the other participants’ work, I was convinced that my drawings looked nothing like how they should’ve.
After all, whenever I think of an artist, I think of someone who is artistically inclined and amazingly talented, goes to art school, is an art student, and knows what to do with the beautifully large array of art supplies in the art store, of which I just go crazy over, but have no idea what to do with.
Since I don’t consider or identify myself as an artist, I was hesitant to attend the art and drawing PLC when it was announced. But since my colleagues were attending, I signed up eventually.
So as we learned about cross hatching, hard and soft pencils, textures, and other interesting artsy things, I was convinced that “I am not an artist”. Seeing shadows and light, turning shapes into pictures, doodling, and experimenting with shading didn’t come naturally to me. And as I attempted to draw, my inner perfectionist cringed at how imperfect it looked, especially when compared with others.
But in the end, as I walked out of the art room that afternoon, I realized how much I had enjoyed myself as I set aside my expectations, comparisons, and let myself be.
And even more than learning about art, I learned life lessons:
Whenever I stopped and looked up to see how everyone else was doing with their drawings, I caught myself comparing what I was doing with what everyone else was doing or where they were at. Bad idea. There is no need for comparison. Instead, I learned to embrace that what I do is unique, special, different from everyone else (and it’s okay), to just care about what I do and not compare myself with others.
Art (or life!) doesn’t need to be perfect.
Looking over at what others were doing (which seemed so much better than mine), my inner perfectionist initially cringed. But I love that being an artist teaches me to embrace imperfection. After all, art and life isn’t about perfection. And there isn’t just one way of doing things. It’s about experimenting and trying new things.
Embrace learning new things.
Going for a PLC about drawing and art was scary to me, because it’s something I don’t naturally excel in. But just because I’m not good at something doesn’t mean I won’t try to get better at it. Post-PLC, I was actually inspired to practice doodling and experiment with another side of creativity, even when it can be scary and embarrassing. Being open to learning about it gave me a new perspective, an appreciation for art and made me excited to learn more!
So I am not an artist – not by my own original definition.
But maybe now, I am an artist, because I create art in my own way.