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Earthscape by Chris Dunmire
Chris Dunmire : The Arts Desire

The Arts Desire

Expressing Creativity Through Artistic Mediums

By Chris Dunmire

Nit Wits #22: Creative Outlets by Chris DunmireI believe that all of us have the capability to express ourselves through art. Many have the desire to dabble in it, but few seem to do so. Why?

Maybe because they've been discouraged on previous artistic efforts, or have been told they can't draw, or feel they lack creative imagination. Some might even feel that if their art is not worthy (or prestigious enough) to hang in a gallery, they have no business doing it.

I felt that way for a long time too. In fact, I'll be the first one to tell you that my drawing skills are the reason that pencils have erasers. Case in point, I took an illustration class a couple of years ago — and let me tell you — every time I looked into my instructor's eyes when he looked at my work, I knew that I wasn't cut out to be a fine artist. Well, the kind of artist that draws a tree to look like a tree, anyway.

I can accept this with good humor now, because if you ask me to sketch a bowl of fruit sitting on a table, you're going to end up with a caricature of a bowl of fruit. Simply put, I'm a "Snoopy" artist, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Not Resigning

Still, one of the strongest desires I have is to further explore and develop my artistic skills (example: the image at top of the page is of my first painted earthscape). I used to believe that doing so would require learning how to draw perfect forms and create beautiful works that others would want to pay money for to hang on their walls.

Not anymore.

I decided some time ago that I am not one of those kinds of artist, and it's okay!

This acceptance became galvanized after taking an art appreciation class and learning there is an endless variety of art and styles out there. Sure, you have your MC Escher's, Norman Rockwells, and Georgia O'Keeff's; but then you also have your Keith Harings, Andy Warhols, and Matt Groenings.

You also have an innumerable amount of other people who create unique and inspiring works of art just for themselves — out of the sheer enjoyment of being creative and expressing what's in their soul.

You know, "art" may be described in the dictionary as "the use of skill and imagination in the production of things of beauty," but in a more personal sense, it is a mental and emotional outlet we can use to our advantage to rejuvenate our spirit and further our creativity. And many people find artistic expression an inexpensive therapeutic tool for working through their feelings, dealing with depression, and discovering solutions to their problems.

What a serendipitous thing art can be!

I propose that the best approach to art (for those of us who lack the "traditional" skills) is to create it for the benefit to yourself. Don't be motivated by what you think others will think or feel about your work, and don't be discouraged at your lack of refinement or skill. You will get better if you keep at it, and you certainly will find your own artistic voice if you do enough of it. Who knows, maybe when you decide to share your creations with others, you'll be pleasantly surprised that they think you are good!

And what if you are a great artist, but your own worst critic? Well, cut it out! Stop being so hard on yourself and start listening when people praise your work and ability. Sometimes you have to appreciate what it is that you've done, and not focus on what you didn't do (gentle ribbing: you well-endowed artists really drive us "lacking" artists up the wall!)

I leave you with these closing thoughts about art: You are an artist even if you've never painted a landscape, sketched a picture, or sculpted a masterpiece. You see, if you exercise your creativity from deep within yourself, you express your artistic self.

And when you create from the heart, you indeed create your own art. •

© Chris Dunmire 2004. All rights reserved.

About Chris Dunmire

Chris is a deeply engaged creative spirit, lover of wit, words, and wisdom, and the driving force behind the award-winning Creativity Portal® Web site. [...]

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