Wednesday, May 3, 2017

An Artist After All: inspiration & spark

This post is part of a series to augment the Author's Manifesto available for free download.

This and other inspirations of mine are gathered in the Spark Directory for you to explore.

Find more original art content in my Artwork Gallery.

My whole life, I've always had an appreciation for art. I looked to artists with awe and respect, and I had great esteem for the friends I had who could draw or paint or sculpt. I always felt like artists were cooler than me, with their pretty finished pieces that could be absorbed and appreciated with a glance. I was the less-shiny wordsmith in the corner, sculpting poetry and chiseling away at my set of novels, knowing that every one of their pictures was worth a thousand of my words. In those days, at least in my own mind, I was very much not an artist.

And yet, I dappled in artistic pursuits. An oil pastel here, a chalk and charcoal there, and once an oil painting with speckled white gaps between colors. Nope, not an artist. But I still liked to work with my hands. I expressed my creativity with crafting, particularly textiles, creating latch-hooked yarn rugs from store bought kits. Over time, I started adding more crafts to my repertoire - making candles, braiding rag-rugs, learning to knit and locker-hook with fabric and with yarn. I created my own knitting patterns, designed my own rugs, and even adapted a few traditional rug-making techniques to work with craft yarn and canvas.

Check out this Author's Manifesto for more of my inspirations!

Then one day I heard about the zentangle, a detailed freeform doodle that looks good and does not require "real" artistic talent. I read an article, watched some YouTube videos, and started my own zentangles. The first few were clunky as I drew them, the concepts of the artform still hazy and my hand unsteady as I shoved an ultra-fine Sharpie across the page. But before long, my perspective on my own art had shifted completely. After a few bigger pieces and some glowing feedback from friends and strangers, I realized - I'd been an artist the whole time!

There is an art to making stuff, whatever the stuff. Craftsmanship in this world is ever being replaced by machined parts and assembly. Handmade goods are rare and expensive, well outside the price range of what most people would call reasonable. But I love the feel of string slipping through my fingers to become something manifest, a Zen-like peace in the repetitive motions. I use my crafting time to mull over the secrets of the universe, unraveling the mysteries of the human heart and concocting the greatest stories of my Tales of the Known World saga.

Whether ink and paper, fabric and rug canvas, or yarn and knitting needles, my art expresses a bit about who I am and what I love. But no matter the medium, to me, the greatest prize is the time required to complete each project. Each hour of making art is an hour of honest meditation, self-reflection, and relaxed enjoyment of the physical world. Art gives me time to integrate my life lessons, ground myself in who I really am, and process through all the twists and turns of my epic fantasy adventures. I might have discounted my art as a youth, but with a little Sharpie and a lot of open-minded consideration, I've become one of the artists I respect and esteem.

That's it for this post! Check out my latest inspirations for more.

Download the Author's Manifesto here, or start your adventure below.

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