Monday, August 06, 2007

Can a Left Brained Person Be an Artist?

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m wondering whether there’s a repressed artist inside of me. (If so, it must be very, very repressed – squashed, practically – since I scored “right brained” on only 2 questions versus 16 for "left brained".) Anyway, is this inner artist something to take seriously, or is it merely my neglected creative side acting up for attention?

So, am I artistic or creative? Hmmm. Tough one. (Setting aside the above-mentioned test results for a moments.)

I took Art in high school and college and did pretty well as I recall, with watercolor, and drawing in pencil and pen & ink. I look back at my college sketchbooks and some of the stuff looks okay, others are sort of amateurish. I’ve generally considered myself to be able to learn the skills, but clueless as to whether I have that “it” that makes one an artist. I haven’t attempted to draw in over 20 years.

Writing. That’s another interest. Can one be a writer without anything to say? That’s a dilemma now isn’t it? I admire folks, like Nadine, who have written a book. In school I earned A’s in composition and writing classes, but let’s face it. The emphasis was on sentence structure, grammar and presenting a persuasive argument. Again, learned skills, but are they necessarily the traits of an artist? (Or my left brain's natural ability to break things down into steps.)

I’d love to take a creative writing class at the community college. I think it would be fun now that it wouldn’t count for anything (i.e. part of my overall grade point average).

Ooh, then there’s jewelry design. I’ve taken classes in lampworking (glass bead making), actual jewelry making (forming precious metal, soldering, stone setting – loved it! But it was expensive and I haven’t been able to find classes locally). Lately, I’ve been playing around with beaded jewelry – you may have seen the photos on my blog before, but here are a few. I’ve never looked into selling anything at craft shows, consignment shops, etc.

About two years ago, I found a watercolor book/kit at Barnes & Noble. Step by step instructions, all materials included, etc. I have yet to put the brush to the paper though. I just can’t take that first step.

Ditto with scrapbooking. I’ve accumulated tons of the stuff (paper, scissors, stamps, die cuts, album, sheet protectors, etc.). I’ve even selected the photos, but again, I can’t just take the plunge.

I think my problem (just one???) is that I hate feedback of any kind. Compliments are just as painful to me as criticism. So perhaps that is what’s squashing the artist within. When it comes to my kids, I have all the answers: art is subjective so what’s pleasing to one person may not be appealing to another; art is a personal expression so it can’t be “wrong” (despite what Mrs. C, Son’s #1’s first grade teacher years ago, said), and so forth.

So how do artists not take criticism (or compliments) personally? Anyone? Bueller?


~d said...

I am autistic...not artistic. (well, not REALLY!)
I was out of town-literally! for the latest high school gathering. Did you go?

Shionge said...

Hiya Elle...I think it is wonderful that you are finding your creativity in doing things that you like.

If it is constructive criticism that's fine as that would be the way to improve ourselves.

Have fun!

Nadine said...

Taking criticism as a artist is almost a given, especially if it's writing. I'm horrible at sentence structure. If I had a gun to my head I couldn't diagram a sentence, but here I've written a book. Funny...yes. But being creative is just creating and if you are the only one who enjoys it, isn't that enough? I think so. I love to dance and whether I'm a good dancer or not, it's something I enjoy. Does that answer the question?

Elle*Bee said...

No, ~d, I didn't go. We couldn't find anyone to watch the kids so I stayed home. Dear Hubby says there was only a handful of SJP folks there. He didn't stay long - a couple of hours maybe. How was your trip?

shionge, I really dislike feedback, even if it is constructive. And a compliment? Just as awkward for me. :-)

nadine, I agree about creating for the joy of it, but I only have so much room to store the stuff I end up creating - take my beaded jewelry, for example. It might be nice to sell some pieces if for no other reason than to have the money to buy more.

When it comes to writing, speaking hypothetically, one has two options: self-publish, or send a manuscript off to the various publishers. If you do the latter, how do you handle the rejection (assuming that like most first time authors, there will likely be several rejections before your work ends up in someone's "maybe" pile.