Remember that assignment that everybody had to do in their high school art class, where the teacher would arrange a bowl of fruit and we’d have to draw it? My failure in my attempt to draw a bunch of produce was the first limitation that helped me realize my own creative ability.
I’m not good at creating realistic drawings. Never have been, never will be. Well, maybe I would be if I took drawing classes, but I find realistic drawing to be so awfully boring that I’m never going to be overly keen on developing this skill. My inability to draw has definitely limited by artistic exploration, as I’ll never be able to create a portrait of someone without it slightly resembling a monkey, and I’ll never be able to sit down and make a killer portrayal of a bowl of fruit. (Neither of these inabilities make me all that sad. Sometimes, monkey portraits are the best portraits). Even my classmates who were “bad” at art could draw better than I could, and I began to wonder if I just wasn’t cut out for this art thing.
Impressionism saved me from giving up on my creative ability. Impressionism is a style of art where an artist might make a rough outline of a picture, and then throw so many layers of paint on it that the original purpose of the picture is only visible if you stand back and squint a little.
I loved this.
Claude Monet’s “Waterlilies”. This dude was crazy– he had his gardener move around the plants in his yard every day, just so he could have a new view to paint. (Photo from Wikipedia)
I could work with colors, I could blend the heck out of paints, and, most importantly, I barely had to draw anything, and nothing had to be realistic. I’ve made collages, acrylic paintings, pastel interpretations of the world around me that express my inner perception of beauty, all without having to worry about shading the upper lip of a portrait so much that it looks like the picture that Napoleon Dynamite made of the girl he had a crush on.
Trish. (Picture from Napoleon Dynamite Wiki)
After I realized my limitations in drawing in a realistic manner, I was able to unlock a whole world of creativity for myself, and make my own (slightly wonky) beauty in the world.