Afternoon Shadows, Oil on Canvas, 24x24 inches, ©Lynn Goldstein, $1700
The drawing below was a first effort for me at the age of 4
While someone was visiting my studio last week, a common question was posed. The question was this, "When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?" Followed by a less common question, "When did you know that you were talented in visual art?"
Now, on the surface, the first question was an easy one to answer. The surface answer was, "Since I was a kid." The second question was harder, because I still am not sure how much talent I have. I work at my art, and have questioned my talent almost as long as I have been breathing. But I was reminded of something in my past that illustrated almost exactly when I knew that I wanted to be an artist. Bear with me here. I think you will get my point.
Remember when you were in elementary school? Of course you do! Come sit with me in those tiny chairs and let me share a memory.
When I was in elementary school, we had coloring competitions. That's right, coloring competitions! Silly as they were, I found myself most annoyed that Rachel Trent (name changed to protect the innocent) won those darn competitions every week. Now, I knew that Rachel had no more ability than I did where art was concerned. After all, I could draw rings around Rachel Trent! Her winning stuck in my craw weekly. So, rather than admit defeat, I studied what Rachel did with her coloring. She was very neat, and stayed carefully within the boundaries of the coloring book pages. This felt uncomfortable and uncreative to me even as a kid. Unlike anyone else in the class, she outlined each border of the forms with black. Therefore, armed with knowledge, I did the same thing, and won! Once I had proven to myself that I too could win the coloring competition, I went back to NOT coloring within the lines, not being totally neat, and certainly not putting black outlines around the forms.
What does this story say about me? Well, I'm not particularly competitive unless something matters to me. I don't care about sports, and how well I perform in them, but art, well that's another matter. If I feel a hint of competitiveness, importance to me is confirmed. I also know that I don't like to color within the lines!
So, I still question my talent, but I never question the importance of art and being an artist in my life.
What matters to you? Have you had an ah ha moment when you realized that THIS (whatever this was) was important to you? How was that confirmed? Let me know in the comments below.
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