Getting Creative

An artistic mind…

I love art in it’s many forms! Even better, I love the creative process of making something new out of something old. When I came across the above picture, it sparked my imagination and the day was filled with landscaping designs for my own yard.

For as long as I can remember, I loved to create pictures. I wasn’t all that great with colors, but I could do an awesome mural with a pencil, although it did land me in hot water once when I was a young teen and I covered a wall in a friend’s bedroom. It was a life size drawing of a warrior on his horse, inspired by a picture on an album cover. Did you know that pencil requires several coats of paint to cover up? I didn’t, and my friend’s parents were not happy about it.

One of my favorite hobbies is handicraft projects. When I moved to Alaska, touring the local shops was a real treat for me, as there were so many items created by hand from the local artists. I was not only inspired to create, but I also felt quite at home in the midst of so many uniquely creative minds.

Most of my creations are one-of-a-kind, and for the most part, not for sale. I often create items with a specific person in mind, to be given as a gift. One such item was a gift I made for my dad. It was inspired by a joke, that “it’s so cold in Alaska that even the fish grow fur”. I made a 10 inch long fish from clay, with bulging eyes and long fangs, then spent 4 months covering it, layer by tedious layer, with dog hair in 3 different colors. I mounted it on a plaque with the title, “Alaskan Fur Fish”, and sent it to my dad for Christmas. He raved about that fish for years!

Stifled creativity…

I enjoy creating things, but I do not like being a salesperson. Looking for ways to make a living in art without having to do any selling led me to an opportunity with a company to produce small craft items at home. I thought I would be “creating” and the company would be doing the selling, a perfect gig for me.

The first project I was given was assembling tiny brooms, about 2 inches long. The company supplied the materials and instructions, which had to be followed precisely. Their objective was in mass production of identical products, so there was no room for creativity. And I ended up hating the job. After completing the first set of 1,000 tiny brooms, I turned in my resignation.

When I was younger, a common phrase among most of my teachers was, “She does not follow instructions very well”. I still don’t like to, though I’ve at least improved enough that I don’t get into as much trouble for it nowadays.

From a creative perspective, one of the major attributes of the artistic mind is originality. But that originality suffers and is stifled when you have to go by someone else’s rules and instructions. And while it may be considered a “flaw” by many, I simply prefer to do things my own way. (This is also a common pattern with most entrepreneurs.)

My mind always seems to be busy creating something new. And this includes new ways of doing old things. To be honest, it doesn’t always work out well and I’ve spent a lot of time in correcting or starting over.

There are, however, times when the ideas do work out well. Those are the successful efforts that keep me going, such as when my stories touch someone’s heart or makes them laugh. While my writing methods may not follow the rules of academia, I’m not writing to please any college professors anyway. As an author, I write primarily to connect with others in a more personal way, to create images shared in the heart.

Even when I’m doing freelance work, while there are certain guidelines that must be followed to satisfy the client, the writing itself is still my own creation. I find that freedom (along with the paycheck) rewarding.

I suppose I could have followed a more traditional path to a writing career, but I don’t think I would have found much joy in it.

Instead, I think of the words of Jim Rohn:

“We all have 2 choices in life… to be all that we can be, or to be less”.

To me, that means being an original, to create from the heart in my own way, even if it means the hard way sometimes.

So, with that thought, I’m off to painting pictures with words (working on my fiction series).

Have a Happy Tuesday, and go create something beautiful! – Amber

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