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Yes, I am an artist!

Bijgewerkt op: 16 feb.

I never considered myself creative. Looking back though, I know I always was. Just not in the way I had been taught what an artist was.  

I have photos (slides actually, yes, I am that old) of me as a five-year-old painting at an easel in kindergarten. My dad still has a bookmark that he uses daily, made by me at the age of 7. I embroidered some flowers and “papa” on a black and white checkered piece of fabric. I hope it lasts; it’s getting frayed. 

A friend of my parents mentioned the other day that when her oldest child was born, my siblings and I made cards to give. Turns out that my card was the most colorful and thoroughly decorated. So yes, I was creative. In high school though, there were classmates who took art classes and were busy painting in the art room. Those paintings were awesome, everyone was in awe. So much detail, so precise. But ask me to draw or paint something realistic and you end up with a stick figure and a house with pushed back curtains, smoke coming out of the chimney and a winding path leading up to the door. Drawn in a childlike manner. 

And because I couldn’t draw to save my life, I wasn’t deemed artistic.  

 As a young adult, I looked for ways to channel that creative energy. I started knitting a cable sweater….never finished it though. Talk about going straight into the hard stuff….why couldn’t I just start with a regular scarf? I did a LOT of embroidery when Patrick and I started living together. Lots of fairies and Forever Friends bears. Anyone remember those cuties? Another creative outlet was rearranging the furniture every three to four months. Sorry, family, for the unrest that must have caused.  

After my oldest was born, I was invited to a friend’s place to try my hand at 3D card making. Wow, I loved that!!! And being who I am, I delved into that with heart and soul. I didn’t use just 3 sheets of images but 5 to 7 sheets so that I could cut out more details. I added ribbons and dried flowers and shells and sand. Man, those cards were heavy!!! But also being me, I tired of that hobby after a few years.  

The next creative phase was scrapbooking. I have so many layouts and albums filled with photos of the kids and nature and my husband and me. Lots of handmade mini-albums. Adding text and stories to pictures, all surrounded by paper, ribbons, ink, buttons, paint. When the kids grew older and didn’t want their pictures taken every minute, I transferred that creativity into art journaling. This was a way of scrapbooking but without photos: I could still use all the ink and paint and quotes and stencils I had hoarded over the years. 

After a while the art journaling pages weren’t big enough, so enter the canvasses. First small sizes, like 50 x 50 cm, then bigger and bigger till I ended up with canvasses 150 x 100 cm. I had a few exhibits in libraries and workspaces with my artwork filled with quotes. But you know how it is with trends…..the trend of having quotes in your house died out. And I felt that this wasn’t the art I really wanted to make. 

I ditched the quotes and the stencils. Paper was a favorite support for paintings due to the way the aquarelle paints flowed. But I wasn’t a big fan of how these artworks could be displayed. So, stretched canvas it was. 

I bought massive amounts of paints, all the colors I could find. Inks for splattering. I still had lots of oil pastels and crayons and markers left from art journaling, all to be used to add more depth. I tried my hand at pouring art with fluid acrylics but couldn’t find a way to add my signature style to the results. The fluid acrylics were then used to create the uneven circles and splashes as a statement to the canvas. 

After following workshops with a fellow Dutch artist and an online course, I learned to mix my own paints. Wow, how did I not do that all those years? It would have saved me heaps. J  

I have gone from abstract to figurative to floral to portrait to abstract again. Looking at my work, I can say I have developed a certain signature: it’s colorful, full of movement, has lots of art marks. It’s me, it’s messy. As my hands always are during a painting session. 

I am still evolving in my art process. Taking classes, workshops, trying out new mediums. All the while staying intuitive in my way of painting. Sometimes I try my hand at figurative painting (realizing that I actually can do that, it’s just a matter of practice), but usually it’s all about abstract and movement and color. The art marks on my paintings are leftovers from my scrapbooking/art journaling days. 

And I can finally, with confidence, say: Yes I am Creative!!! I am an artist! 


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