okay.. so you know me... once in a while I get pretty serious and have to speak my mind and today is one of these days..
One of my FAVORITE parts of teaching and specially teaching online is the ability to connect with women, men and children from around the world who are either artist themselves or learning that through mixed media they ARE an artist and can be an artist...
LOVE getting emails from people who say that art has changed their life. That through watching videos or taking workshops (and not just mine).. but in general.. about mixed media art.. they have found their "Wings" so to speak.. and feel confident and happy and they find themselves with more to look forward to each day. One of the things of course I guess I am famous for.. is NOT following the rules when it comes to art and well I guess life and general.
I have always believed rules are meant to be broken (when they don't hurt other people of course).. but you know what i mean. I have a friend who always makes fun of me for making up new words or misspelling or MIS USING a word.. and I say.. hey..who decided that word needs to be used that way anyway? just because the VAST majority of people in the world use that word "This" way.. can't I make up my own word? and use it the way i want? and the response is always.. Yes I guess you can.
Its like my son who showed up to church one sunday wearing one green flip flop and one blue. You would expect any mother to be mortified for one.. that he was wearing flip flops in the first place.. but the fact they were two different colors.. probably even more. My other kids (this was my son Ethan by the way.. I believe around 6 at the time).. my other kids were like.. MOM! That is so embarrassing! They don't even match! To which my response was.. SO? who says they have to match? WHen did someone make up the rule that both shoes had to match.. or that our shirts match our pants.. or whatever the case may be. Sure it might be more pleasing to the EYE if both shoes matched but i have always taught my kids to be individuals and there is no wrong or right when it comes to that (again as long as it is morally correct and doesn't hurt someone else or themselves). So I just put my arm around him (he had his head hung low.. because now he seemed embarrassed).. and I said.. Ethan! I LOVE your choice of shoes today! So unique and SO creative! might have to try it myself sometime"
and you should have seen the smile on his face as I reassured him it was okay to be different. Now granted he PROBABLY wore different colors because he couldn't find the matches.. but still okay in my book.
Anyhow.. im just a girl who likes to color outside the lines.
SO recently as many of you know, I was on the show Craft Wars.. and I have already wrote about my experience in THIS blog post.. and since that episode has aired I have received SO many emails from many of you saying how you just loved that big old yellow bus and how disappointed you were that I didn't win.
So let me start by saying this.. I am TRULY not disappointed I didn't win. I went onto the show KNOWING that I only had a one in three chance of wining.. so I didn't go on thinking I would.. but I went on because I LOVED the idea behind it and wanted to see if I could stand up to the challenges presented. So don't be sorry for me that I didn't win. TRULY i am okay with it.. had a GREAT experience and would do it again in a heartbeat!
However I have to admit.. and I haven't gone back to read my last post about this.. but I am pretty sure I didn't tell you this.. but I was actually EMBARRASSED almost for the episode to air because honestly as we were applying the mod podge over the front and sides and back of the bus with all sorts of mismatched fabrics.. I kept looking at this and thinking.. wow.. this really looks like crap! lol.. Mostly because some of the products being used weren't great for mod podge (Like felt.. just goes a gross color specially yellow when it gets wet).. and also because it was applied so this way and that. Which of course my helpers did.. BUT I won't let that be their fault either because I should have been better at directing them on how to put it on.. (wanted more of a quilt like pattern with straight edges). But it's okay. I think no matter what It just didn't turn out as intended. I also had great intention of doing wood scallops in blue, with red and black and yellow doodled scallops and strips within the modeling around the top of the bus and around windows and doors and stuff and again.. didn't turn out as expected and used foam instead because I kept being reminded that this was craft wars.. not design wars and crafting is all about using fun mediums in my opinion.
ANYHOW so I was actually very embarrassed about the finished product and kinda nervous for my friends and family and well you guys to see it. But then the episode aired and wow your response was SO different than expected.. YOu LOVED the creativity behind it.. the idea behind it.. the out of the box .. and unepexted way to color a playhouse. You also appreciated the fact it wasn't perfect and that there were bubbles and wrinkles in the walls (which was one of the things the judges dinged me for.. which I was thinking.. oh they must not know about mixed media.. because in mixed media we LOVED bubbles and wrinkles.. its texture and its fun! lol)
anyhow.. I need to get to the point of this post! lol
okay.. so on saturday this last week I was driving on my way to utah and my daughter was checking my emails for me and read me this email that I received from a dear sweet women who has taken my classes and and loves mixed media art. It was a very long email and mostly about the show and her opinion on it and her take on the bus.. she said somethings in her email that actually brought tears to my eyes. She reminded me how SILLY i was being for being embarrassed about the look of the outside of the bus. About it not being perfectly as I had intended it.. and how silly I was for not embracing how the bus took on a life of it's own.
I teach all day long in my videos in in classes.. that art is NOT perfect.. nor should it be.. That there are NO mistakes in art. That whatever happens through the process is beautiful texture and layer that just adds character to it. An accidental spilled paint. Or a color that you didn't just quite like.. and I don't just teach it. I BELIEVE it!
Her email really made me think.. she is right. I should be embracing this wonderful BIG YELLOW bus of messy modpodge mixed fabrics and all. So I wanted to share with you a few of the things she said to me.. if that is okay (and I already asked and she said It was okay with her as well)..I won't share all of it.. but here is just a few things that actually brought tears to my eyes..and was a gentle reminder of why i do what I do.. and why we should ALL love what we create.
"About a week ago, I finally had the time and was
utterly delighted when I recognized that you were one of the contestants!
One of the qualities that I genuinely admire in you is that you are a
free-wheelin' risk taker of the best kind. By that, I mean that your
boundless joy is represented in how you happily color outside the lines in
every aspect of your life, especially your artistic life. I respect this
As I watched your wonderful yellow school bus
take shape with the joyous abandon that I personally hoped would occur all I
could experience was boundless delight myself as layer upon layer of visual joy
was added to create your masterpiece! Thinking of the type of playhouse
that I would want for my own little grand-daughter, my giddiness only grew as I
watched you lead your team to what I thought was certain victory...
From my experienced perspective, the entire point of a hand-made playhouse is
to inspire the imagination of the children who will play in it, to show them
that there are no mistakes in an artistic creation, whether it be a small
canvas or a giant yellow playhouse or a Watts Tower mosaic garden in the middle
of an inner city slum. Further, art is not supposed to be perfect, nor
matchy-matchy, nor non-stimulating...
The texture that you created by
ModPodging-a - notebook and decorative papers was perfect for
showing little one's that it isn't necessary, or even desired, to carefully
smooth out each and every piece of paper to create a slick, manufactured
result. The messier, the better cause there ain't no mistakes in
art!!! The amazing exterior enticed my own ever-present inner child to go
inside and I was NOT disappointed! The creative, colorful zones you built
and decorated prompted me to immediately want to go and make some art.
I truly delighted in watching you create such an
exquisite environment that children of any age would revel and be further
inspired to play, create, and dream in. Suffice to say, your loosing was
an injustice and only proves what is wrong with our public education and
dwindling art programs today. Children are born as question marks...and
our school systems stifle most creative children until they are left as
So, my dear fellow creative soul, in my eyes, and I am most certain that in the
eyes of many of the viewers, your design was a winning one! ... Given what has been happening in the world, and especially
in Aurora, CO these past days, your objective as an artist should be to
continue your important work..... and Heaven knows, this battered
world needs you (and I say all of us)... creating beauty in it.
WOW was all I could say.. and I do have to say.. this is NOT about wining or loosing..In my very HUMBLE opinion I loved cherly's playhouse. The red Schoolhouse. It was HER art and her perspective and her beautiful imprint on this world of creativity. So I am okay with not wining.. but what her email made me realize is that I was NOT okay with thinking mine look like crap because it didn't turn out the way I had intended. She is right! there are NO mistakes in artist creation whether it be on a small canvas or a big Mosaic garden in the middle of an inner city slum! Art doesn't HAVE to be matchy matchy or perfect. It can be.. in my opinion.. but doesn't have to be. ANd not all of us will like everyone's art.. and the best part is.. that we don't have to! Maybe what is visually appealing to us isn't visually appealing to another person.. but we should never call it ugly or wrong because it isn't what we thought it should be. we should respect it and encourage our difference and embrace that art is so unique! I love that through art we are teaching our children to be unique and to be themselves and create a mark in the world that is unique only to them. To be okay with being different and quirky and respecting OTHERS in the same light and way. To recognize that we are all artist whether it be with paint, or food, frosting, or a camera or beads and pliers or a saw.. we all have some bit of creativity in our souls that our Heavenly Father put there long ago.. and I love that teaching ourselves and reminding ourselves of that and to embrace it.. is what makes doing what I do worth it.
I don't actually even remember what the judges had to say to me about my bus.. I wasn't bothered by it and actually I respected their opinions of either not liking or it liking it.. BUT since then I have watched the other episodes and I have been bothered by one thing.. the continuous put downs of the contestants for using a product the wrong way or not creating something the way THEY thought it should be. I know the show was designed to be like Cupcake wars and also chopped.. but ARt is SO different than food. There isn't one kind of baking soda that makes a cake rise and be fluffy in art. Meaning.. there isn't only one glue that can get the intended job done. That is the great thing about art. Is taking a product or a paint or anything and using it in new, different and creative ways! Who says white glue is the ONLY thing you should use to apply glitter (hated that comment in the glitter episode).. or that you can't use a glue gun to apply something.. or that you should ONLY use fabric glue on fabric.. sorry folks.. I just don't believe that is the case. I wish instead that the show and the judges would focus more on the creativity of the project created.. to embrace the uniqueness of someones birdhouse made or dog palace. To be estatic that someone found a new way to use felt or apply glitter or whatever. I also wished the show let the true creative nature of the crafters show through. I wish they weren't so negative and saying "well this wasn't right and you didn't do this right".. sorry but that isn't what art is all about.. or crafting.. not for me anyway.
I wanted to reach through the screen and hug those contestants and say "heck I LOVED what you did! It rocked and I love how you used that product" .. it creativity as its finest.
So thank you shawn for reminding me that art isn't perfect and by me continually saying to friends and family.. I hated that bus and thought it looked horrible and wasn't perfect.. is me totally being a hypocrite when it comes to what I teach. It was art and its what I created in the time I had and what the products and challenges I was given. I would hope kids would run into the playhouse and see the imperfection in there and think.. heck if she can be imperfect in the way she creates.. then Maybe I can do and heck.. yes I am an artist too!
I recently got an email from a 12 year old girl in Pakistan.. and it also brought tears to my eyes.. in it she talked about how she has never felt so inspired in her life to do or be something.. then learning how to create mixed media art. She says she never has anything made her lay awake at night glued to her Ipad being inspired by art and dreaming of what she can create and what she wants to do. She said she has found something that truly has inspired her to live life differently. She said that the only thing they have in Pakistan is paint.. no other art supplies because they can't bring in good from other countries.. not allowed by the government.. but that she still loves to create and loves that I teach people to get out of their shells and just create. There is no wrong.. just create! She finished by say this.. and I have to put this in here because this was another email that seriously brought tears to my eyes.. just imagining this 12 year old girl laying on her bed .. across the world in Pakistan.. dreaming of this..
" I want to teach at workshops and inspire people as well just like you and I don't at all know
how I will ever do that, I don't even know how to get into a workshop. Never
mind I'm only twelve and have my whole life ahead of me... I'm going to start art journaling again.
I want to be that person who inspires a twelve year old to lay down, go through art , be inspired to start art and be stuck infront of the iPad
until her mother comes and scolds her so I really have to go or else I'd get scolded,or I could spend whole night writing bout you.
Um holy cow.. that just gives me chills.. "H" I ADORE YOU!!!
I hope you don't want until you are my age to teach and inspire others.. start NOW.. she has four brothers and sisters.. start teaching them! Spread the art love and creative fire that you have.. it feeds the soul and seriously gives wings to the heart.
So thank you for everyone who sends me emails and inspires ME to keep doing what I do.. to those of you that REMIND ME to keep coloring outside of the lines.. that art is not perfect and there are NO mistakes in art. That we are all creative souls and no matter our likes or differences in art.. we all have one thing in common.. we are all artists and should respect each other as such.
I want to end this post with a picture of canvas my son created this past week. Noah and I had an art day and he I just pulled out all my paints and stuff and let him play. He has watched me creative over and over so I didnt really give him much directly..a nd when I tried he would say "mom i already know that".. he is 7. CRazy and LOVe that at seven he is so independent and carefree about creating. Not worrying about staying withing in the lines.. or that he might have messed up.. he just created and ended up with a beautiful freaking awesome canvas.. HE inspires me. ALL of you inspires me.. truly :) thanks for letting me share. (ps. come back thursday I will have the july Mixed media video posted!! )
(oh and one last thing.. I tried four times to use spell check and typepad kept timing out.. so yea sorry for misspelled words. Its just me lol)