I went out to dinner the other night with my cousin. We had a marvelous time talking and catching up on life. Whenever we are together we both marvel at our similarities of thought, experiences and interests. She is an incredibly talented artist and we love sharing ideas. At one point in the conversation we got into a little discussion about who has more talent! Each of of insisted that the other was more artistically gifted and we both meant it fervently.
Some of the most gifted people artistically do not realize the gift that they have been given and struggle with feelings of failure or inadequacy while others who are seemingly less skilled are undaunted by other's opinions and enjoy their creative processes immensely.
The truth is that we are all in different places in our creative journeys. People vary in their confidence levels and the intent of their art. Some people do art for the sheer pleasure of it while others do it to forge a pathway to existence. Art can be an expression for some and a science for others.
Everyone is creative. In a way we do our creative selves and others a disservice when we label each other as gifted or not gifted. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and come up short, often discouraging us from exercising our creative gifts. Others may in turn label us as the "artists" and then not dare venture off on their own journeys in creativity. My sister, living in my shadow, didn't discover her creative gifts until years after she married and moved on with her life. Her creativity came together not only in use of the english language but in beautiful centerpieces, food and greeting cards.
I will say it again because it's THAT important....everybody has creative ability (whether or not they know it). Art is a gift that everyone can partake of. We need to leave judgements aside and express ourselves without fear of not being good enough.
Often when I'm teaching I give the students time to play on their own with poses and lighting for the models. It usually takes a few minutes for people to move on their ideas, partly due to a sense of politeness and I think partly due to a small sense of intimidation. It's so easy to think that others ideas are better than our own. In addition, there is something so personal about creativity... it's like undressing in front of others - it's bearing your soul and it's so painful to put the gift up for scrutiny.
Scrutiny has it's place, in competitions and school. There has to be some measure of excellence as we all need to strive to our highest competence level.
At the same time, art should have the freedom to just be about creating. Creating is really about the process... it's about what it does for us and in us. It's about what we are expressing, how we are getting in touch with our inner core or belief system. Art comes from how we view the world from our own unique standpoint. Sometimes it's just about our need to create something from nothing and the feeling of accomplishment that is gathered from the act.
So, put aside your feelings on how much talent you have and how creative you may or may not be. Create just for the joy of it. Make art because its fun! You don't have to show anyone what you've done unless you really want to. Celebrate art for art's sake in your life today, it's good for the soul!