Sunday, August 19, 2007


When my daughter was about seven years old,
she asked me one day what I did at work.
I told her worked at the college--that my job was to
teach people how to draw.
She stared back at me, incredulous, and said,
"You mean they forget?"
Howard Ikemoto
I'm here to say that art and creativity are mandatory to happiness. It's easy enough believe or pretend that is not so, for any number of reasons:
I don't have time
I'm not a real artist
I have nothing worth saying
I'm not sure what I'm doing
Other people are so much better than I am
I'm only a novice
I've never been trained
I've never had an exhibit
I've never been published
I just dabble
Misconceptions about this subject always surprise me. It seems too many of us believe if you don't seriously paint, or write, or sculpt or design something, you can't possibly be an artist or a creative person. And yet, I look around me and I see artists and creative souls everywhere--all ages, all sizes, all mediums--some professionally committed to earning a living from their art, others just beginning to take themselves seriously, others engaged in planting gardens, cooking dinners, coordinating accessories, taking photos, planning parties, drawing cartoons, singing songs, spinning tales, making cards, painting furniture, giving gifts, crafting, performing, providing, trying, stretching, sharing.
It's probably true most of us have to fight for the time to play in the service of art. But guess what? You have to, because if you don't, some part of you will wither. I am pretty sure I am right about this.
Somehow in the process of growing up too many of us lost sight of the importance of play. That loss may have made you a better money manager or a more grounded person, but if you've sacrified creativity and play, think again. It's not optional. Really, truly, I don' think it is.
As for me and my own version of creativity:
Writing is easy:
all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper
until the drops of blood form on your forehead.
Gene Fowler
But here's the thing: I wouldn't have it any other way. Never, not even, no can do. It's too much fun, even when I'm doubled over, trying to outshout my own worse critic, and guess who that is.......


  1. Hello KJ - youre too right. And it only need please ourselves, no one else! (Although it is very very nice when someone else 'gets' it!)

  2. Completely agree! Wish I had this post to read out loud to first classes when teaching the same thing! How SAD having to use the word "teach" in that sentence!

  3. Am I expected to say something smart here because I don't really have much to say except that sometimes, I'd rather do laundry than paint because I love the smell of detergent and bleach and need a high. Hahahaha!

    Here's the problem. I think that modern life has made art a separate entity, not entwined with the fabric of our lives. Some of us were raised in families where art was not viewed as a degree or an occupation but rather something that we do regularly with the rest of our daily activities. This may mean playing an instrument, singing, arts and crafts, painting, woodcarving, photography, gardening, flower arranging, gourmet cooking, calligraphy, knitting, etc. So I don't really see a problem if I don't do any art activity for awhile because I'll be doing it sooner or later. Of course, if I had to rely on art making for income, I'd probably be doing it all the time.

  4. Hello Doll,

    Hmn, why that Picasso said that he finally learned to paint when he started painting like a child, so really Dahrling, why the struggle about art and creativity? It's as natural as making or drinking moonshine, of course if you are a child you can't have moonshine but ya know what I mean?

    Your friend,
    Dione Cassini a.k.a. BoBoRegard

  5. My only creative outlet is my blog. And play with my kids. And I think that's enough for me.

  6. Ah, but isn't creativity part of our being? I have always thought that there have been years in my life when I indeed did not have the time to be artsy, creative.
    But then I was studying, writing papers, practical studies to pass exams, the creativity you need to muster then is enormous. At the time being it seems far from art.
    I witnessed how my son needed to defend a work he had done on the subject of maths before a jury and an audience to finish his secundary school earlier this year, and when you look at it from a distance you realize what creative effort goes into something like that.
    So I agree with what you are saying in your post today.

  7. But Ms. KJ, you are preaching to the choir! I do agree with you of course and most certainly to a lot of your views. You rock!

  8. Ms KJ, please check out my new blog!

  9. I just started finding a form of creativity that works for me and even though I'm my worse critic, I'm happier.

    I agree! XXOO

  10. (smile)

    You're right.

  11. I think we all start out as artists and then life gets in the way! Children start getting self conscious and critical when they are about 10-12. I know this from the myriad of art teacher jobs I have had. They copy each other and they say I can't. But parents and instructors must teach them that they can. So many parents and people in our lives will say John is an artist and Jake is a mathmetician and that sinks in and they believe it! But we are all artists!