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March 28, 2021: Inviting Your Inner Artist Out to Play

“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.” 

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

If you give a small child a chance to play with art, there is no hesitation before she/he jumps right in with abandon. There is no overt worry about whether the finished project is “good enough” or if it’s even worthy. The prospect of freely playing with color and design is the incentive.

“A widely cited study by George Land found that children are born creative but lose their creativity as they transition through life and into adulthood. Whether this creative corrosion is caused by life experiences, schooling, the fear of failure, or all the above is up for debate, but the good news is, creativity can be molded and re-learned. The bad news is, non-creative behavior can also be learned.”


Too often, as adults, life lessons have hampered us with the self-limiting labels of “I’m not artistic or creative or talented”. As a result, creativity has been relegated for only those who successfully pursue the arts. Yet Elizabeth Gilbert writes passionately in her book Big Magic, that living creatively means so much more and is not restricted to only “artists”.

We can first explore the question,”What is an artist?

1. An artist is defined as a person who creates paintings, sculpture, pieces of writing, music, dance or a variety of other types of creative products.

2. A person who does anything very well, with imagination and a feeling for form, effect, etc.


While the traditional definition of artist seen in in the first reference (#1) refers to paintings, sculpture, dance, writing etc., the second definition opens the door to other areas of artistry. Living creatively, can be a search and rescue mission for living your own live artistically.

When you expand the definition of artistry, we can look at our lives and determine when we use creativity and imagination to create something new. Think back to those events or pastimes that bring you curiosity, excitement, joy and the feeling that your positive energy is flowing freely. Times where you’re not hampered by self-doubt or worry about judgements of others. When are the times where you are inspired to create something new?

It can be experimenting with a new recipe, knitting a sweater, designing a new flexible schedule to meet all your demands, arranging a beautiful dinner table or even something as simple as how we arrange the flowers we spontaneously bought at the grocery store.  Artistry can come in many forms, from simple acts to intricate design work. Being aware of these potential gems in our lives can open the door for personal discoveries. When we use our hearts, minds and inborn creativity, the artist inside of us comes out to play.

I, personally, am a late-blooming artist.  The art teacher who taught me as a child, determined your grade whether or not you could draw like Norman Rockwell.  A “C”  grade told me I was mediocre at best.  Pairing that with a close cousin, who could draw well, I labeled myself as “non-artistic” and avoided anything to do with art after elementary school.  This denial of any artistic talent was because I defined an artist as someone who performed well in the traditional domains such as drawing, painting, sculpture, etc. Also I believed my talent as an artist was defined by a report card, mediocre at best. I always had creativity (again a biological trait) and a vivid imagination, but kept most of it hidden inside.

It took me years to figure out where my areas of artistry lay.  I loved to design and plant gardens, but didn’t consider that as being artistic. But it was; incorporating the elements of curiosity,  imagination, risk-taking and hard work. The creativity was also inspired by asking key questions like “What would happen if I planted….” or how can I create a garden in a shady place?    I built dollhouses and miniature vignettes as a hobby, but didn’t think this was artistic…..it was. 

I didn’t start even drawing or painting until I hit my fifties and learned to love the whole process….mishaps and all. I had always loved watercolors and decided to take a chance with some painting classes, both in person and online. Understanding how the materials work gave confidence to my explorations. Nature photography also has blossomed in the past few years and become a passion. I still can’t draw or paint like Norman Rockwell, but despite the negativity of my art teacher, I have discovered that, I am an artist too.  I look at the mishaps now, as stepping stones to growth as an artist, rather than failures.

To invite your own artist out to play, think about asking yourself the following questions:

 1. What in my life captures my attention and fills me with joy? What fills my senses with feelings of awe, delight or wonder?   

2. What am I passionate about?  What would I love to learn how to do or have time for in my busy life?

3. When do I feel that my mind is freely flowing, with enthusiasm and positive energy, leading to results that come directly from my actions? 

4. How can I begin to “play” in the areas I want to explore in more depth?

5. What is holding me back from opening the door to my own artistry and creativity?  

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”

Henry David Thoreau

Where will your dreams and imagination take you? What steps can you take as the creative artist of your life?

As always, thank you for taking the time to read our blog. We invite you to share your thoughts or quotes you find inspiring in the comments below. Please feel free to share it with someone who might find it meaningful.

One of my happy places-outdoors photographing nature.

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