Being artistic is something I have mentioned sporadically throughout my blog and social media. Revealing and sharing this piece of me is something I don’t normally do. In the past 2 years I made it a personal goal to be more open about my artistic side and even share some of my artwork with people. Since I was a kid I have been drawing, coloring, and creating just about everything. It blossomed from coloring books to drawing my own pictures to still life to life art to designing clothes and finally landing on painting. To say I have dabbled in all of creative aspects of arts might be a good point to show how I can never stay with just one thing. Why? I am a moody artist. I get bored easily after trying to perfect something… art isn’t suppose to be perfect – although at times I have struggled with this. I admire those artists who make it seem easy to bring to life what they envisioned in their mind. This is a huge reason I walked away from designing clothes…. I hated the fact that I was forced to learn the basics. I just wanted to create what I saw in my mind and do it on my own.. Yeah I’d have to learn how to measure fabric and how to cut the patterns but the thought of making something that wasn’t inside my mind was frustrating.
A quick story about my summer at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) when I was 16 years old…. I took a basic drawing class and an introduction to sewing. My drawing class took me to another dimension, probably the dimension my Professor was in, it truly challenged me in a good way of learning about my perspective and how to translate that to paper. He really spoke to me when it came to drawing still life and even people. The detail. IT IS ALWAYS BEST TO BEGIN WITH DETAIL AND WORK YOUR WAY OUT! That is how I learned to draw my hands and palms so well…. one day I hope to be able to sit down long enough in a mirror and draw the bottom of my foot. My challenge of the summer was the Introduction to Sewing. OH MY GOD. It was such an intimidating class…. my Grandma had shown me some of the basics but her and I are much like the same person – she understood certain things I wanted to make and made the “boring projects” more of practice. “Sarah practice sewing a pillow case and make sure it is straight so you can get comfortable with the sewing machine and then we can sew the skirt you want to make.” See, Grandma knew how my mind worked and how to teach me. This class though… it was not like my Grandma’s teaching. The machines were old and industrial, the pedal was sensitive and I was terrified I was going to sew my finger off. It also didn’t help that the fabrics I was working with were cheap and lame patterns my Mom picked out for me. No offense to my dearest Mom but it made making everything all the more less inspiring. We didn’t have the money to buy nicer fabrics nor did my parents want to shell out the money for me to buy whatever fabrics I wanted (unintentionally I have very expensive taste). Nevertheless, I persisted in the class and tried to learn as much as I could. Instead I found myself become more and more bored with the class and not wanting to be there. I did learn about patterns – but just the basics. I decided that I didn’t have the patience or the passion to pursue a Fashion Design career at the time.
I continued to use the tools I learned at FIT as I sketched on my own and tried to practice the things I learned. Once college rolled around I stopped sketching and my tools just sat there for the longest time. It was until a few years ago that I picked it up again. I forgot how it felt. I would simply sit on the floor of my bedroom and just dive into this other world for HOURS. I am not kidding when I say HOURS – normally 4-5 hours at a time. By the time I resurfaced to the real world I was exhausted… I would look at what I made with satisfaction and put it away. It was only something I wanted to see and I didn’t want judgement from other people or “fake praise.” My family is always going to say that my artwork is amazing and beautiful and blah blah blah. They are my family, it is what they are suppose to do. Do I think I am incredibly talented and should be praised for the things I’ve created? Fuck no. It is a hobby, it is an expression of myself and only for me. Artwork is suppose to make you FEEL SOMETHING. Whether it be relatable sadness, happiness or inspiration.
My good friend Nicole convinced me that I need to start sharing my artwork and jump back into things. She knew it made me feel better but also wanted to push me to share this part of myself. It isn’t something she thought I should keep hidden and I could do things at my own pace. So I promised her I would try, and in the beginning of it all I would just send her and another friend a photo or 2 of what I made after coming back from my own little world. And no I wasn’t getting high while doing this if that is what you are thinking. I literally mean I would zone out and I could hear or see nothing but what I was creating in front of me. I got a little braver by gifting my artwork. This isn’t something I was used it, after all I was very attached and very selfish with my artwork.
The summertime is usually where I knock out most of my art pieces. Especially the colorful ones. I sit in my yard on the weekends with my dad and I just zone out and go to town. He doesn’t hang over my shoulder asking what I am making and leaves me alone – which I appreciate immensely. I don’t like it when people come by and ask what I am making.. I tend to immediate close up shop and never finish. See – MOODY! He lets me live in my own little world as long as I need to or feel like it. I am also not scared for him to look at what I’ve made when I am done – he gives me his straight up sarcastic opinion. “How lovely,” “Very Nice,” “If you are done you better clean up this mess” are usually the responses I get. I never claimed that I was a neat artist. He is mostly concerned with my dog trying to drink the dirty paint water which is usually in her reach. He is the only one that I feel the most comfortable around painting.
As I continued to push myself I became more comfortable sharing my artwork. I gifted my mom and my best friend things I made for them. It was a different type of experience creating these paintings because I knew at the end of it that it would no longer be mine. That I was giving a part of my creativity away for someone else to enjoy. As strange as it was, once I did gift these paintings I felt like I took a giant step forward with my artwork. That I was ok with sharing what I had made and that other people will get enjoyment out of it.
This pushed me to hang up things I have created in my room for me to remember the happier and lighter times, especially during the winter. Like I said I make most of my artwork during the summer. At the end of the summer I am usually gassed out and I don’t have much interest in making things… hockey season begins! Randomly in the winter I decided to finish this HUGE water color of the Little Mermaid. I saw this photo on Tumblr, which is where I get some inspiration, and I knew that I wanted the challenge of recreating it. It took me about 5-6 hours but I completed the giant photo. It took me another 6 months before I actually went and got a frame to hang this giant piece up. Not only did I purchase a frame to hang that giant painting but I purchased 2 others to hang 2 more pieces which I am sharing with you today.
Now I am never one to say “SEE THAT? I MADE IT!” So I didn’t expect any reactions to any one who came into my room and saw it… until my cousin and her daughter saw my giant Little Mermaid painting. Its hard to miss as it is directly above my bed. She asked where I got it and was shocked (or shookth) when I told her I painted it. My little cousin (her daughter) said to me “I WANT ONE! SARAH CAN YOU MAKE ME ONE?!” Her mother agreed and I was on a mission… instead I asked if she wanted a different Disney Princess and she asked for Belle from Beauty and the Beast. We sat together and found a photo that she wanted me to recreate. Before I knew it I was hunched over trying to perfect this painting. All I cared about was the look on her face when she saw it. And boy was it worth the back pain when she opened it up on her birthday. The joy on her face made everything worth it… and it was then that I realized that my creativity can be used to make other people happy and not just myself.
I try my best to make “happier” paintings but sometimes we have sad days so there is a sad painting or sketch. Some of these I choose to share with people and others I don’t… Although I am a lot more comfortable with sharing my artwork on the internets and with other people, I still get wildly uncomfortable when it becomes like an “Art Exhibit.” I expect any praise from people when they see my artwork or for them to lie to me either. It is much like my blog – you either like it or you don’t. Either way, your opinion won’t cut me a check nor would it ever stop me from doing what I enjoy most – being creative.