When I’m asked how long have you been making art? I pause as the question seems the same as someone asking how long I’ve had my hands. But asking when I did I begin to believe in myself as an artist? An entirely different question.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making something, or being creative in some way. My mom kept the craft cupboard full of things to recycle into art. My Grandma worked at a department store – Army and Navy - and supplied us with funny shaped cardboard from shirts and tissue paper from other clothing. The craft cupboard wasn’t full of things from a craft shop like we have today - but with odd boxes, coloured paper, bits of packaging and trinkets to recycle.
As a three year old, I remember watching Mr. Dressup (Canadian iconic children’s TV program) as he demonstrated his latest art project while I snuggled on my Mom’s lap. After he completed his craft, I busily got to work to create my own version. Then as the years went on, I was always enrolled in the latest library craft day exploring new materials. Art was part of my DNA…another one of my senses.
In Grade 3, at nine years old, an upcoming competition for the local agricultural fair was announced. The school kids could all draw something that related to the farm and the winners would have their work displayed at the show! I was desperate to be one of those winners.
Disbelieving in my own capabilities, I asked my Grandpa to draw a horse, as his horses were very good. Then I secretly traced and coloured the horse. Fingers crossed, I handed in “my” project. I was so excited when I was chosen! That excitement quickly dissipated when I found out I needed to do a new drawing on larger paper. Oh wow…I fretted…and doubted myself. It may well be karma was at work here!
I don’t know why I chose a rearing horse, which was probably even harder than a horse standing still, but I did. Perhaps, the determination to keep my secret safe, forced me to outdo my previous “attempt” while it gave me the opportunity to redeem myself. I found a picture of a rearing horse and without tracing drew it.
And it turned out beautifully, I had even impressed myself! My horse drawing was far better than the one I had traced, and at nine years of age this is how I began the journey of believing in myself as an artist.