If I had a nickel for every time someone told me “I can’t draw” or “I’m not an artist” or “I wish I could learn to draw” or “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler”…then I wouldn’t worry about the state of my 4 kids college funds.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” -Pablo Piccaso

You can learn to draw and paint quite easily with practice and instruction (way easier than playing the violin). For some reason people close the door on the possibility of making art quite young. I meet people every year that say something like “my second grade teacher told me I would never be an artist” sometimes, through tears, they admit that for 60 years they wished they could make art. I have a small mission in life just to crack open those doors closed so many years before. Sometimes I think the fact that art leaves a paper trail is part of the problem. No one can “see” a record of your child’s first violin lesson, they look at the result of a year of practice and lessons at the recital. We judge ourselves too harshly too early, and we close doors on our possibility.

I have theory, as to why so many of us long to create, but stop ourselves. I think we expect that since we have gained mastery of writing letters and numbers we have gained mastery of a pencil, and since we cannot use it to make art, we are not artists. (Somehow we forget about the preschool and early elementary years practicing forming those 9 numbers and 26 letters. We think, since we have mastered those 35, we should be able to draw a human face). I also think as grade schoolers, we rank ourselves among our peers and make decisions that effect the rest of our lives. Take for example a child that spends ages 0-9 riding bikes, and fishing, and mastering every kind of ball. One day they show up in a classroom with another third grader. They both are given an assignment to write a short story about their holiday and draw a picture to go with it. The kid sitting next to the athletic-outside play kid might have spent her childhood drawing pictures and painting. Perhaps she has a mom like me, when they ask “how can I make this look more real?” They get really good instruction. Then the first third grader, with words never exchanged, looks at the illustration of the kid next to them who created ART with 24 crayons, decide for them self they lack an artist ability to work crayons and therefore are “not artistic.”

“Every artist was first an amateur” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If your door closed a long time ago, and you wish you were one of those “artistic types”, let me give you some hope. With a little instruction, and practice, I promise you will become an artist. Those artistic kids practiced for hours and showed up in your third grade classroom, and maybe you decided you had inferior talent. What you had was inferior instruction and practice. Give yourself a chance.

“Creativity takes courage” -Henri Mattise

putting in effort over time adds up to huge effects. If you don’t believe me or get discouraged, read or listen to the book “The Compound Effect.” Sign up for a class, and start making art. What if you told yourself you can keep the 100th painting, but the first 99 are just practice. When you go to your first art class, remember, no one signs up for a recital they day they start violin lessons.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” -Thomas Merton

Teaching is my favorite part of art. I would love to help you crack open your door! I also would be delighted to hear about the classes you found in your town, and what your journey is like to learning to make art!

Learn more about my classes

One thought on ““I’m not an artist”

  1. Wonderful writing! I was one of those people who always said «I can’t draw», but envied those who could. Now I’m on my third year of painting, learning most of what I know through youtube and hobby books ☺ I’ve also joined a local painting club ☺

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