When I was young…living at home with my parents…and my sister was still there…and she’s the oldest. (Sorry Sis!) I wanted to be like her so bad I couldn’t stand it! I thought EVERYTHING she did was amazing! She could draw…imagine…and it seemed everything came easy to her.

When she was about eleven or twelve…they told mom that she had to be taken out of mainstream classes and put in special classes…mainly because she was driving the teacher nuts!!! lol  But also it was because she was way too smart and was not challenged what so ever and was bored out of her mind.  I’m not sure why they didn’t just push her up a grade…but maybe they hadn’t started that yet.  I can remember the next year….the very first thing my teacher said to me was….”are you as smart as your sister?” Now…maybe I was and maybe I wasn’t…but I had been sick since I was a baby and missed an extreme amount of school…especially my second grade year…so they held me back.  Now….back then…whether it was because of grades or absences….you didn’t get held back….YOU FLUNKED!!!! So you can imagine what a young girl thought….FLUNKED and sister that could do NO wrong was a genius…so I meekly answered…no…

From that day forward it got worse…and I stopped trying…I was convinced I was stupid…and couldn’t do anything. I can still remember hearing people say….yeah…she’s the smart one about my sister.  ALL through school…any teacher I got that had dealt with my sister, would ask the same question.  The only way I could deal with the shame of being “stupid” was hide in my mind.

Out of this came artistic ability.  Now…I REALLY don’t think I have any more ability than anyone else…I think I’ve fine tuned the skills we all possess.  I’m gonna attempt to explain this to Y’all…

Have you even been driving and find yourself down the road a ways…and you really don’t remember the drive? Well….you were most likely in your “right” brain…the artistic side of your brain.  Perfectly safe…just letting the left side deal with the technical stuff…while your memory and awareness was in the right side.

Find something you want to draw…get a pencil and a sketch pad….really any paper….and something simple to sketch. Be realistic….if you can’t draw a stick figure….you’re not gonna be able to draw your own portrait on your first try…for that matter…maybe EVER!!! I can’t draw myself for crap! DON’T do anything ALIVE…living beings are REALLY hard…..grab a ball….or a book or a very simple shape. 

1. Get somewhere that you have NO interruptions….you won’t always have to…it gets easier with self training.  Don’t even have a phone or music….nothing!!!! Sit and just stare at your object. Try to shut everything out of your mind…just think about one thing….shape and form….focus only on that…Notice the size of the object…the dimensions….don’t look at it as what it is…rather it’s shape…
Is the top larger than the bottom….and is it taller than it is wide?….If it has a right side up….lay it upside down so that it doesn’t look so much like a thing…and more like just a shape. Squint you eyes and just get the form.  When you have just thought about this one thing for several minutes…then begin to sketch it. Make small marks with your pencil….don’t draw lines…draw light….barely noticeable dashes that are touching….basically don’t just sit down and try to draw it….try to gently make a lot of very light strokes form it.  Don’t loose heart if your first drawing isn’t perfect…with time…continue this exercise….I promise you’ll get better…

2. Carry a sketch pad with you….sketch whenever you have a few minutes….instead of playing that game on your phone….sketch something sitting on your desk…or next to your bed…..but sketch…sketch….sketch.  Each time…try to block everything out but the object…and this will start to come to you.  Jot down things that you find interesting…ideas for sketches…Like: I love the curves of the chair leg in the doctor’s office….I love the color of the maple tree in the back yard. Then start looking at things in a whole new way….shapes and colors…not what they really are.

3. Let art inspire you.  If you love a painting of a sunflower…then paint a sunflower….not THEIR sunflower….change it…redefine it.  Take the sunflower and put it in a vase instead of a patch of sunflowers.  If you like the way a piece of furniture is painted….take that and put it on a bag….or paint a floor.  ALL art comes from inspiration! By looking at EVERYTHING as art…you will become more inclined to come up with artistic ideas. Try to imagine a different purpose for everything.  Could your cup become a votive…or a pencil holder?  Look at this project…could it be a bird feeder? or serve deserts? Maybe that broken cup could be sanded around the rough edges and turned upside down for the frogs in your garden to hide in.  Remember even flowers…and animals are God’s art.  A flower is a shape….a blend of colors…it has depth…texture.  The shirt you’re wearing is someone’s art.  They came up with the design…the shape…the color. You may not EVER become a Picasso….but you will start having more artistic abilities…awareness….and inspirations.

These steps may seem trivial….but trust me….if you will get in the habit of looking at things in this way….you will begin to see them in a whole different light.  You will start having your own artistic thoughts.

Love Y’all!

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