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How I Knew I Was an Artist

How did I know I was an artist?

To put it simply, I knew I was an artist because I found joy in creating.

The longer answer is I found myself loving to communicate visually, I was drawn to beauty in asthetics and meaning, I loved making something out of nothing. I loved translating what God made in my own way. I love the thought process behind understanding an idea from something that isn’t straight forward. I love taking ugly and making it beautiful. 

I saw it in myself as a kid, I loved adding drawings to my written work at school. Every crafty school project was so exciting to me and I usually went overboard making it awesome.

I saw it in my love of color combinations, noticing symbolism, noticing detail, noticing light. The way certain things look in their surroundings.

I saw it in the excitement I felt understanding meaning from a wordless picture. Noticing the way people feel joy and pain. Translating a feeling into a visual picture or a written word picture. Freezing a feeling in a photograph, painting or drawing.

“Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.” – D.W. Winnicott

I found this quote and I started smiling because it’s so true for me. Creating art is such a joy for me because it is a communication of myself. Yet it is not straight forward and requires a sort of digging for information by the viewer. The message is there, but it’s usually hidden.

My favorite communicating tool is painted pictures. I’m not good at writing songs or written word pictures like some of my friends, but I know it has to be the same feeling for these creators as well. Art gives us a unique type of freedom to communicate, but the meaning is partly hidden waiting to be found. It think art makes people brave. It’s a unique language communicates more than the obvious.

The painting pictured above is something I painted in 2003 as a part of my senior art project at California Baptist University. It’s a self portrait. I made the canvas and used oil paint. It’s been at my parents house. I recently picked it up. I’m loving it in our home. It’s reminding me that I am an artist in the traditional sense when I have my paint and brushes, and how I’m growing to draw out my creator-self into the tools I have now… our home and our kids.

The title of artist is not just for those with a paint brush in their hand. How do you see yourself as a creator? Leave a comment to let me know, I’d love to hear your story.

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