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Friday, January 10, 2014

Do your own thing

At the beginning of this new year I decided my life was getting into a rut and I needed to add some new things to get out of that situation. I have pretty much been self-taught when it comes to learning things not generally offered in school. I probably inherited that tendency from my father, a self-taught man. When I took French in high school I remember my father saying, "After you learn it you can teach me". Neither happened! The only reason I attempted the language in the first place was because some of my maternal ancestors were French.

My mother was a professional seamstress and tried to teach me to sew. That didn't work out well either, perhaps because I didn't do things her way. Later on I became quite good at stitching up creations on my own. I even made my daughters wedding dress. Sewing led to teaching myself how to knit and crochet. I think my maternal grandmother had a lot to do with my desire to work with a new medium. As a child I remember helping her wind and unwind yarn. Through the years many hours were spent offering my creations at craft shows.

Time goes on, people die, children grow up and the word family takes on a new meaning.

In 2000 I began writing as a creative expression. It was fun and has led to many exciting experiences. One of the things I am most proud of is that I have always encouraged my young grandson to not only read, but try out his version of writing. A priceless gift I received after recently reading a story he had written was his comment, "I have learned a lot from you and I have a really good Language Arts teacher."

In celebration of a new year and because I have become bored I purchased a keyboard from Amazon. After taking it out of the box, setting it up and plugging it in, my first thought was "now what?". I did briefly take piano lessons at about age 10, but recall nothing except where middle C is and striking wrong notes. My next stop was the music store, where after a conversation with the owner/music teacher I purchased a beginner music book and I am determined to teach myself. After a few days I can play, Mary Had a Little Lamb. Don't laugh I'm still learning!

Another talent (?) I have been ignoring is art. Although I am not a photographer I do take some beautiful photos of natural subjects like clouds, water and sunsets. A professional photographer once told me I have a natural gift for framing what I see. I haven't found the right showcase for my work. Perhaps someday!

In the past I also dabbled in sketching, again teaching myself. I never thought I was very good. I do have an unrealized desire to draw and paint. Recently I shared a couple of my sketches with an artist saying, "I really don't have a gift". The response was, "I can see that you have a gift, you just haven't used it." His comment inspired me to try again and I took out my sketch pad and began trying to copy a very peaceful scene I found on Facebook using colored pencils. I wasn't happy with it and I finally realized why. I was trying to copy something someone else had done.

The image I was trying to reproduce, although peaceful, was structured. Every mark I made on the pad was trying to force my brain to do something it didn't want to do. I believe my next step is to try abstract art and let my brain have its way. In the meantime I am sharing an image I reproduced several years ago. It was a large clump of weeds sitting on a hill above my little town. It caught my eye one day and I decided to make it into something it was not. As the saying goes, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

I have concluded it is of utmost importance to just do your own thing.

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