The Artist In Me

I am not an artist.

I have told myself that 6,593 times in my lifetime so far. At least.

It all started in kindergarten. I couldn’t color in the lines. No matter how hard I tried.

In third grade my teacher laughed at me when she took the scissors from my clumsy, sweaty little hand and said, “Sage, you can’t even cut along this bold black outline? Really?!? Didn’t they teach you that in kindergarten???”

“Well,” I mumbled, turning all shades of brilliant red, “they tried. It isn’t Mrs. Yakamoto’s* fault. She tried! I’m just…hopeless.”

So began the traumatic stress disorder.

I told myself that if I could only cut with big people scissors, I could do a better job. Years later, I can testify that this wasn’t the answer.

It didn’t help that my sister won a HUGE Victorian doll house in a coloring contest when she was two years old. Okay…maybe she was really six. Anyway, I know that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others…but when your baby sister can color better than you can…it damages one’s confidence.

So continued the traumatic stress disorder.

Then along came Sarah. She’s ridiculously talented in art. And everything else I can think of right now. Another baby sister who is a natural. I didn’t compare myself to her. It was worse than useless to do that.

It wasn’t that I didn’t try. I did. All sorts of art projects. Different mediums. Different styles.

Mom is a wonderful artist. She paints incredible pictures…and has a knack for making everything she touches beautiful. She could even touch my work and make it look better. I thought it must be some gift that mothers had in their perfect mother hands, and wondered if I could ever be a mother…

Dad is an artist too. His work is strange and unique and interesting and amazing.

It’s all around me…that artist gene.

Scrapbooking…one of my worst nightmares. I went to a friend’s wedding shower last year and the hostess announced that everyone was going to do one page in a scrapbook for the bride. Right there at the party. No sisters or mother with me to help me out of that. I broke out in a cold sweat. I tried to think up a good excuse to leave early. I wondered if it would work to fake illness. I took a deep breath and did a page. A pathetic, horrid little page. Then I hid it under the pile of incredibly creative pages that were done by the half-dozen art majors that were also at the party. No joke. Art majors. *groan*

I’m sitting here tonight with glitter and gold and purple paint on my fingers, because I tried to be an artist again today. A project for my writing class, no less. I love my writing teacher. She’s amazing. But she likes throwing in these assignments for visuals. This is the third time that an assignment from her included “glitter and glue” and only the first time that I actually attempted it. There were ways to get around the other assignments. Today, I decided to give it a try.

My first attempt looked like an ice cream cone suspended above a blob of…something horrendous. I gave up, ripped off the “ice cream cone”, folded the cardboard in half to throw it away, and then opened it back up to find that we all liked it better after it had been pressed together and completely altered. So, with a little more work, I have completed my assignment.

Don’t ask what it is. It has deep symbolic meaning. Trust me on that. But it doesn’t matter. If you look at it cross-eyed and blurry it’s colorful, modern and abstract.

I think I need to let go, forget all my post-traumatic stress, tell myself 6,594 times (at least) that I AM an artist and embrace whatever comes. Uncomfortable as it may be at first, I think I need to become acquainted with the artist in me. I think it’s time.

Meanwhile, I am deeply grateful that I don’t HAVE to be an artist. I sure wouldn’t want to rely on that to make a living!

*Name may be changed to protect the innocent. Or because my memory has failed me at the moment. It was something like that though. I think.


20 thoughts on “The Artist In Me

  1. I am really glad you’re taking and enjoying this writing class. And that you keep trying every now and again to tap into your creative ability. I LOVE your glitter and glue image. Makes me want to break out some glitter and glue myself, I haven’t touched any since grade school!

    Congratulations are you artistic piece. I love it.

  2. I love your piece, Sage. Beautiful. And I can totally relate to that feeling “I’m not an artist”. I usually say “I’m a craft person!”
    Your Mom’s paintings are beautiful too!

  3. Love your new creation! So colorful!!
    You are not alone, I too suffer from traumatic stress disorder (we should start a club ; ) )!!!! I am surrounded by seamstresses and I can’t sew 😐 Let me know if you find a cure!! 😉

  4. I like the header. I feel ssooooooo Sage in it. Post traumatic stress? Allow me to join together with you then
    🙂 let’s it out . . . . Make an artistic using paint, scissor. . .The last time, when I was child I make several cut of my mother’s curtain.

  5. On day 69, your “Were I an artist,” caused me a brief pause but as often is the case I probably browsed on and didn’t think of it again until now. Then day 72…wow! I’m glad you linked to this explanatory post.
    I too am really glad I don’t HAVE to be an artist. First I’m glad my income doesn’t depend on photography but maybe more importantly I think if I HAD to do photography (and photography of a nature that payed a somewhat good income) I would certainly not enjoy it as much…or at all!
    Oh, and I wonder how many of you friends can now say “I considered Sage and artist before SHE considered herself an artist!”
    Last point: I like your art here, the full image. But cropped, positioned with the text, etc. for your header? Absolutely perfect!

  6. Sage, I think that it looks great as a header. I think we would get along really well 🙂 I still have one creative project i want to try but if I don’t try I won’t fail, right? 🙂 Your writing class sounds super interesting! Anna

  7. You say that you are not an Artist and yet you produce something that is rather unique, I agree with one of your friends here that it adds a very nice touch to your header 🙂 Do have a most excellent morning my friend 🙂


  8. I know a few artists and they have talent galore. Unfortunately, I have none. Your abstract is nice and your piece made me laugh the whole way through. Your artistic ability lies in your thoughts being put into words instead of into pictures. And in that you excel at your craft.

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