Paint By Numbers - Lessons Learned
As a young child I used to love these paint by numbers kits. My parents would sit with me and we would all create our “masterpieces” together around the dining room table. They introduced me to a way of expressing myself which throughout my entire life has brought me great joy, has helped me deal with frustration, has shown me the validity of different perspectives and point of view and has taught me that there are many different ways to solve problems. They instilled in me a passion for creativity and for seeing the beauty in the ordinary and in the world around me. They nurtured my burgeoning love of all that is artistic by talking to me about the creative process, by immersing me in projects that were both practical and some that were not necessary but that would fulfill a deeper need in our souls. By introducing me to different artists and art forms, they taught me how to respect and value the many different ways people choose to express themselves. They taught me that it is OK if I don’t like something but that I need to respect and try to understand the reason and motivation behind why it happened, why it was done, why it was said, why it was created. They taught me the art of discipline and perseverance and that there are no mistakes in art. They instilled in me that sometimes what we consider to be a mistake turns out to be a wonderful new way of doing something or looking at and appreciating something in a different way. They stressed that it is OK to experiment and try different approaches because the process eventually leads us to the destination, and that in and of itself was a very powerful lesson. The correlations to real life that I learned from these mundane family activities were of course not apparent to me as a young child. They emerged rather slowly and as they became a part of my everyday life were imprinted in my psyche and helped me to deal with the trials and tribulations I would face as an adult. They also allowed me to appreciate the beauty and goodness that surrounds me. I tried to continue this artistic journey and set the same example for my son that my parents set for me. I hope that I was successful.
So my dear friends, for those of you who always tell me or feel, “I’m not creative”, “I can’t draw a straight line”, “I can’t sing, dance, play an instrument” “I can’t express my thoughts in writing” I will leave you with this parting thought……Try it, and if you are not happy with the results then try it again and again and again. Lose the fear and the inhibitions inside of you and free your creative souls from the shackles of doubt, insecurity and from the anxiety of how others may judge your artistic pursuits. So go forth boldly pick up a pencil and start doodling, grab a paintbrush and make some bold strokes, make a sculpture from found objects and help to recycle, pick some wildflowers from your garden and create a beautiful color palette, put on the music and sing and dance to your heart’s content and express yourself, crochet a simple chain and see where it leads you, refinish an old piece of furniture and imbue it with new life, build a fantasy world with LEGOS or three-D printers, create a fairy garden in your porch or back yard, start a journal, write a poem, write a book, get out your phones and take some pictures of the wonders around you. The possibilities for creative growth are endless, they are right in front of you, surrounding you and waiting for you to discover them. But most importantly, share these wonders with the people that surround you. I promise you, it will change your life.