Thursday, January 12, 2006

My artist within...

The mother would use her brush daringly and create the most beautiful pictures. Pictures straight out of her mind, never copied from a book or magazine. Scenes, people or whatever moved her in that moment, became her subject. And, the little girl with the long blonde hair would stand over her mother's shoulder and watch her, admiringly.

The girl wished that she could create, just like her mother. She would spend hours practicing her drawing and painting. She dreamed that she would grow up and have that wonderful gift. She was shy, and to her this seemed to be the perfect way to share your heart with someone else.

She was amazed at how quickly her mother could take the brush and use bold strokes to create leaves, flowers, vines, all looking so freeform and natural. As she worked, the little girl would ask her what she was making, her mother always said she didn't know. She wasn't sure yet. When she asked her how she drew something in particular, the mother never explained only saying she didn't know how she did it, she just did.

And so, the little girl with long blonde hair would sit, knees curled up to her chin and rock back and forth and watch the mother work. The more oil she added to the canvas, the more possibilities the girl could imagine of what it might become. In the end, she usually was surprised by the outcome, but she always loved it.

Her mother was crafty too. She'd take her skills to flower pots, shiny white tiles, and the sides of cabinets. She embroidered a huge canvas with birds, with wings of every color in the rainbow. Everything her mother made, the little girl felt, was made of gold. It was perfect and priceless. When she tried to tell her mother this, the mother would just laugh and joke about how she quit art school, how no one would by her work, and how she'd have to give it away.

As she grew older, the girl's artistic desires grew, but along with it came frustration. Paralyzed by her own perfectionist tendencies, she would try to copy magazine covers. She tried to draw things exactly as they looked, and let go of her imagination. It seemed to be the only thing she could do that came close to her dear mother's gift.

Her mother, at some point, quit painting and creating altogether. Thinking back, the girl did not remember exactly when, but discovered why later. As an adult, her mother shared with her, "I stopped painting because you always got so upset that you couldn't do it like I do. I didn't like for you to be upset, so I quit."

The girl's heart filled with mixed emotions--swirls of sadness that her mother could walk away from such a talent, dots of guilt for having unknowingly made her leave her art, and strokes of anger that her mother would actually tell her such a thing and not realize how awful it would make her feel inside. Feeling dabs of curiosity, she wondered, how could someone with such a gift just stop creating? To her it seemed unfathomable

As a teenager, the girl start to write in her journals. The words flew from her pen with ease. She liked to write about her feelings, her observations, and her dreams. She also learned how to embroidery, cross-stitch, and crochet. She found other ways to fill that artistic place inside of her, like creating fun scrapbooks with bright papers and fun titling.

She still held artists in the highest regard, but felt a sort of envy toward them as well. Finally, she realized that her real art was in words, in descriptions, and in telling stories. She might not be able to paint beautifully on a canvas, but she could tell you about that canvas and make you see it as if you were there.

And, it was then that she finally realized there was an artist of sorts living inside her all along.

17 Comments:

Blogger MommaK said...

Beautiful post Steph. I love reading the artist in you :)

7:12 PM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger Lisa said...

What a wonderful posts. Art truly comes in many forms, doesn't it? You are truly an artist. :-)

8:26 PM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger Melanhead said...

Stopping by for the first time. Thanks for visiting my site (I think you found me through Debbie).

Looks like you hail from a very talented family. :)

8:34 PM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Ooh, Steph. This is one of my all-time favorite posts. You are indeed a GREAT writer. And this was a joy to read.

9:20 PM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger Trinity13 said...

Wow...that was wonderful!!! I might just have to read your post again!

Btw, Michele sent me.

10:43 PM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger utenzi said...

Michele sent me, Steph.

Artists can be inspired by many things--and wanting what they can't have or don't have within are definitely ways to spark that fire. It's fortunate that you found the area in which you have strength, Steph. Of course I'm sure you still want to paint...

10:47 PM, January 12, 2006  
Anonymous daisy said...

Hi Momcat. Michele told me to say hi.

Sounds like you've found your muse. Good going!

10:54 PM, January 12, 2006  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

OMG the part that your mom stopped because it upset you made me cry. Your mother demonstrated true mother's love.

6:30 AM, January 13, 2006  
Blogger Viamarie said...

Beautifully written. Love your post. I am not regretting having visited it through Chrixean.:)

8:31 AM, January 13, 2006  
Blogger Masked Mom said...

I was very touched by this post. I'm so glad you found your outlet but think it's kind of sad that your mother would tell you that she quit painting because of you. I totally get having mixed feelings about THAT moment.

3:27 PM, January 13, 2006  
Blogger Lisa said...

What a beautifully written post. I'm so glad that you found your outlet and it's available for me to read daily. You are a wonderful writer. And, your mother is an amazing woman.

3:49 PM, January 13, 2006  
Blogger Karen said...

That is really beautiful. Is it true? Are you the daughter? I hope the mother started painting again.

Here via Michele's!

5:19 PM, January 13, 2006  
Anonymous Vicki said...

Beautiful story. I used to paint before my 2 boys came along. But with 2 little ones in tow, I never seemed to find the time for me and to paint.

Lately I have been thinking about dragging out my brushes and again. Like your Mother, I gave most of my art away. And I want to paint something for each of my boys.

6:00 PM, January 13, 2006  
Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

Some people draw. Some people paint. Some people write. Some people play music. Each of us has a gift... we just have to be willing to find it.
LadyBug

6:07 PM, January 13, 2006  
Blogger Carol said...

A nice story too.
Michele sent me!

9:07 PM, January 13, 2006  
Blogger fin said...

My mama draws too. And so do I.

10:31 AM, January 14, 2006  
Blogger christina said...

I'm so excited after reading this to see what kind of postcards you make!

11:24 PM, January 14, 2006  

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