A woman in her 40′s was about to touch her watercolor brush to the paper for the first time and her hand was trembling. She said she was very scared and didn’t know if she could actually do it…but, then, she did! She made a mark of color on the paper, then another, then more. Soon she had painted the apple in front of her and was giggling like a young school girl. Her painting was primitive, but very bright and full of joy! It delighted her and the rest of us as we witnessed her transition from panic to happy excitement.
She then told us the story of why she was so frightened to paint. Tearfully, she told us in the first grade she was asked to draw a turkey by tracing around her hand and then color it. When she finished, the teacher told her it was bad work and stood her in front of the class and humiliated her. She never tried to draw or color anything again!
This is a fairly extreme case, but many of us have had early experiences of someone critiquing our art and making us feel we have no talent for art. We might have decided then and there that art “just wasn’t our thing.” Or we might have simply compared our creations to someone else’s and decided ours “just wasn’t good enough.”
No matter what the source, the Critic in our head can discourage us from ever tryingart or, if we do try, from ever enjoying it or allowing ourselves to experiment with art. My belief is that we are all artists. We all have natural creativity that is basic to human nature. There is not a wrong way to be artistic! Art is about the unique expression of the individual. You really can’t do it wrong, especially if you are having fun with it and letting yourself be yourself!
So, what we want to do with the class, Finding the Artist Within, is first of all, confront that Critic and silence him or her and choose to take a chance to express ourselves in new ways, to find the Artist Within! How that Artist will express, nobody knows. It might be timid and tenative at first or it might burst out, big and bold! The only rules will be that we have fun doing it and we don’t criticize ourselves or anyone else. Are you ready?
Jack Wiens will be offering a free art-making class Tuesday, October, 8, from 4:00 – 5:00 pm at Ashland Art Center. He will also be teaching a three-hour workshop Saturday, October 12, from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at AAC. The cost for the workshop is $25 Members and $30 General. Click here for the registration form. See you there!