I grew up next to the Rocky Mountains. I was always noticing light and shadows. Texture and line. I wrote little stories and illustrated them.
Picking up a pencil and drawing always came natural to me. I enjoyed it very much and I often lost track of time. I felt confident behind my drawings.
I drew everything I saw and excelled in creative projects at school. However, no one in my close circle was an artist and that made me feel lonely. My family and teachers were very encouraging and would tell me “You’re such a good artist!” This made me feel good, but also confused. Could it be that easy to BE an artist? Didn’t I have to accomplish huge feats, have a cool studio, get formal training, paint a cathedral’s ceiling, and sell lots of art before I could call myself such a lovely title as an ARTIST? Becoming one seemed as likely as winning the lottery to me.
I certainly didn’t want to be a lonely artist in some basement toiling away. I worked really hard to fit in, have friends, and be likable. Thanks to lots of support and a little push from my high school art teacher, I actually did go to art school! I was thrilled and on my way to figuring it all out.
I came out of college, a graphic designer. So I could “apply art to the real world” and have a “real job”. The practical choice.
As I embarked on my design career, all my traditional art supplies, creative ideas and artwork obediently took their place in my stuffy closet, only to be seen by me. Pulled out once in a blue moon. This, secretly, broke my heart.
I got married, had two children, and moved several times – lugging my artsy past around every time. Perhaps this was normal. Some childhood dream I should forget about. Maybe it was time to throw away all that extra baggage…
Then, after almost 20 years of being a graphic designer and creating designs for others, my own ideas and creativity somehow escaped from the dark dusty corners of my mind and confronted me (very loudly):
“What are you doing? Hiding? Don’t you know you really ARE an artist? You don’t need a studio or someone to tell you that. You love how it feels to hold a paintbrush with creamy paint on it or how it feels when your pencil touches textured paper. The joy you get making marks and stepping back to see something that didn’t exist before. You could do it for hours…It’s not just a hobby. You’re a storyteller and even if no one EVER saw your work, you desire to make things ALL the time. You were meant to create! What if you could draw your own ideas and stories for a living? What if you made things with your hands and shared them? What if you taught others what you know? What if there is someone out there that needs to see it or hear it so they can feel validated too and be encouraged to do the same?
What if….the only thing standing in your way is YOU?”
This led me to a community of artists that spoke my language. FINALLY! The dominoes fell quicker. I began to practice my art more! Make friends. Collaborate. Fill my illustration portfolio. I began to teach art at the local parks and rec. I started a group called FridayDoodleClub with a few of my new friends. I was beginning to invest in myself…challenge myself and most importantly allow myself… to be called…an ARTIST. Who knew?!
So, with my tools in hand, I’m here to share this journey with you. I truly hope that somehow I can encourage you on your own journey!
If you like this post and would like to let me know... or share your own story with me, you can find me on these social media platforms:
Subscribe to my Substack Newsletter: On the Creative Road and receive an email directly from me with some positive thoughts, creative tutorials, free downloads, color palette inspiration and other fun resources.