Autumn is my favorite time of year and more than just that…there is something in the air that enchants and captures me. It all starts in early September, this feeling of magic in the atmosphere where light and shadows create colors and patterns in the world, that are vibrant and new.
I have always wondered if it is just me. September is my birth month and the month I welcomed my daughter into the world on my twenty-fifth birthday, nearly twelve years ago.
Everyday I watch in fascination as this darling little girl starts pushing out of the box called childhood. She is like me in so many ways. A designing woman in every sense of the word. she has the desire like her mother to design every part of her life, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual…
I have joked often that she is my ‘mini me’, but it really isn’t a joke. Besides having a little red-headed fire hidden in her genes that she got from her father, and more sass-in-her-frass (sassafras is my word for sassy) than I would ever claim. She is so much like me it is uncanny at times.
My focus of late has been helping her to embrace her creative side. I have heard many a human claim they aren’t creative. I am myself pretty convinced that everyone is to some degree. What they may be really feeling is that they aren’t talented in some area or another, compared to someone else. I am prone to believe it isn’t creativity they are longing for, because they already have it. They just may not know how to tap into it yet and where it may lie within them.
What I think they really are saying they want or lack is the talent that follows. The talent is the hard part that requires the work. It doesn’t come without it. Not only do you have to know how to tap into your creativity you have to know how to take it and run with it. You can’t be afraid of the risks of failure yet you don’t even need to be fearless, just committed. You have to face the challenges and there is no instant gratification. There will be a struggle following your initial effort but that is the nature of creating. I don’t know a single artist or designer who doesn’t hit a wall with almost every project…meaning a problem to solve or something to overcome to achieve the result while still working within limitations.
For weeks I have been trying to pour my wisdom into my Autumn as I see the dynamics of her world changing. I see exactly where she is standing and the struggle she faces when it comes to creativity and developing her talents. I have let her know the truth about it all. It isn’t all fluff and it is work. I have encouraged her to expand and keep at it and not give up.
I have taught her that for every great creative achievement there are usually ten rough draft or sketches that didn’t make the cut.
The finished product rarely tells the whole story. Art and design much like life has its contrasts…its ups and downs. The light and dark. We think someone may be talented when we see the finished results but we never see the discomfort or long hours, the uncertainty that were part of the process. There are limitations as well. Your medium only works on the appropriate material and your design has to fit within established boundaries.
Our lives are much the same. They are a process, a journey through contrasts of light and dark times, success and failures, pain and joy. This is what makes life colorful, beautiful, interesting, dynamic and even poignant. If we want the purpose and meaning in our life we have to tap into our ability create it, and keep making an effort to work at even when it seems like we haven’t got it figured out yet.
I personally believe we learn as much from the dark as the light. As an artist I have learned to use as see and appreciate both the light, shadows and the dark. The shadows in life make the light all the brighter and you need both to grow and develop.
As I thought about all of this today, driving back from taking my daughter to school I remembered this drawing I did in High-school of these jelly jars. It is a perfect example how the contrasts of light and dark work together to create depth and color. It was my first large-scale colored pencil drawing and I was scared but I worked hard and challenged myself.
I have to remember that the life I create is much the same, and the beauty is in the contrast.