I never used to think of myself as creative. Artists are creative, and artists paint. I can’t even draw.
But as a child I loved to “play pretend.” I had imaginary friends and few real ones who’d make up stories with me. In 4th grade, a couple of classmates and I wrote a screenplay for our favorite TV show, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. We were the only ones who ever read it, but we edited it together and acted it out with gusto on the school playground for our private audience of four.
Still, in my mind, I wasn’t creative. I kept that mindset for over 50 years.
Then, about five years ago, I went to a wine and painting class and fell in love with moving color across a canvas. Not long after, I began a regular writing practice. My definitions of artist and creativity turned upside down.
The dictionary defines creativity as “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns or relationships; the ability to make new things or have new ideas.” (Notice there’s no mention of drawing the human form or even a straight line.)
Our creativity covers a broad spectrum. We all possess the gifts of being able to look at things in a new way, establish a new pattern. Some creatives can bring these ideas into physical form. More often our creativity resides in our hearts and minds and shows up in the ways we move through the world.
No matter how she appears, when we release our Inner Artist we receive some important reminders.
Whether we create a new recipe, a colorful floral arrangement or a painting, the Inner Artist encourages us to begin without knowing exactly how things will turn out.
When our creativity takes the lead, we disregard the old “rules.” We can’t make mistakes, because we’re starting with a blank slate. We can take risks and let go of our need to have all the answers. Most of all, we can lose track of time and even have fun!
Our Inner Artist gives us permission to lighten up and just see what happens next.
It used to be difficult for me to silence my inner critic. I’d rarely attempt anything in life that I didn’t believe I could do well.
As I played with paints, I learned to stop chasing an ideal and to start enjoying what was happening right in front of me. I learned it was safe to let go of perfection. I began defeating that inner critic.
Our Inner Artist encourages kindness, forgiveness and a lack of judgment, especially when it comes to how we treat ourselves.
When we get too close to something, we lose perspective. We forget there’s a bigger picture. We can’t, as they say, see the forest for the trees.
Painting and writing demand that I keep taking a step back. Look at the canvas from across the room, leave the room entirely, and come back to the printed page.
Our Inner Artist teaches us the value of shaking up our mindsets and looking at things in new ways. Then she reminds us to pull back and have another look.
Creativity is unavoidable. Just being alive is a creative act. We’re in constant states of motion and change, adding colors and shading to our already rich lives. Starting, stopping, beginning again.
Our Inner Artist grows as we do. She expresses herself in as many ways as we have ideas, dreams or thoughts. As Maya Angelou so eloquently reminded us, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
And our creativity doesn’t expire. There’s no such thing as “too old” or “too late” to our Inner Artist. All she asks is that we accept the invitation she extends, the one where we create in the spirit of joy and self-love, and that we never hesitate to color outside the lines.
How are you releasing your Inner Artist at this stage of your life? How are you expressing your creativity? Please join the conversation below!
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