I remember beginning to love art as early as elementary school. My art teacher, Mrs. Buswell, would have us work with paint, clay, markers, paper, glue, anything we could get our hands on. I remember being so proud of myself each time I completed a work. I saw the world around me with vibrant colors. Everything was clearer then. I decided that I'd grow up and become an artist.
Obviously, that was a long time ago, and a lot of things happen between elementary school and college. People ask what you want to be when you grow up, and they let you say "artist", "popstar", "astronaut." Then, when high school comes, you're expected to pick a "real" path to follow. It makes sense, why spend time on something you're not going to use later in life, right?
In my sophomore year of high school, during English class, I wrote an essay entitled, "Why I Don't Want to Go to Art School." I basically ranted for three pages about how I didn't like being seen as the "art girl" or the "art daughter." I stopped doing art seriously for quite a few years. It became this monster always looming in the background. I would see something beautiful and think, I want to draw that, then immediately scrap the idea. I was so afraid I wasn't good enough. And even when I was proud of something I had made, I didn't want to look like I was bragging, so I wouldn't show anyone. Then, when senior year came along, I rediscovered art.
I've always loved watercolor, but I never really knew how it worked. I would use the wrong paper, the wrong paints, and the wrong brushes. When I finally righted myself, I felt free. I realized I could use vibrant colors to create something beautiful, I could paint something in front of me, I could paint anything. And I loved that. It didn't matter if it looked good or if it looked bad, it was damn fun. My teacher Mrs. Vigneau always encouraged me to get better, as well as my friends in the classes. They're people I still keep in contact with today and they could never know how much inspiration they've sparked in me.
Art doesn't have to be rigid, there are no rules, and that's awesome. You can mix colors together to create a new one. You can rip the paper, you can destroy your brush to create a new technique. You can waste paint to get a certain texture or pattern. It doesn't matter.
I'm currently trying to complete an Art Minor, and I've taken Introduction to Painting. Although I haven't loved everything produced from that class, I have learned a lot about myself, other artists, and about how I work. We used oil paint, which I had only used once previously, and it's quickly becoming one of my favorite mediums.
I had tried so hard to rid myself of art, but I was suffocating myself by not making anything, by not creating anything. I had a passion that I didn't know how to stifle. I don't know where that will lead me, but right now, I'm happy to say that I love art, and I hope to love it for many years to come. I don't think I'll be an artist when I grow up, but that doesn't mean I can't pursue it.
For anyone out there who is denying their craft, you can still pursue that. Sometimes you've got to get down and dirty, even if that means paint on your hands.