Several years ago, a friend invited me to participate in a three-week exploratory intuitive painting program. I didn't see myself as an artist and yet something about this program called me forward. I said yes.
Every day for three weeks, he'd send me an email with an art prompt. There were rules. I had to use large black sketch paper and chalk, and I had to fill the entire paper with my work. If any black showed through, it was a fail. After I made the art, I was meant to journal about what came up for me, take a photo of the art and the journal and send it to him. If I failed to honor my daily commitment, I had to donate $500 to a political candidate I didn't support.
Obviously, I honored my commitment even though I was traveling for some of the time which meant I packed and carried the messy art supplies, and spread everything out in hotel rooms. It was not always convenient and If felt great to be so committed to something creative.
Some of the prompts were disturbing. I remember one of them specifically asking me to paint something hateful and ugly. I didn't know I had that level of darkness in me but I did. And it was good to see.
When I invited others to look at my work I was shocked by their positive reaction. For me, the experience of 21-days of art-making was instructional -- and the feedback I got was that the body of work that got created was framable. Though it wasn't my intention, I took that art collection to a local art show and displayed it. I didn't sell anything, but at least I had the courage to be there among other 'real' artists.
It's interesting to remember this experience as it served as a turning point for the way I saw myself. I could imagine adding creativity into my life on a daily basis, and I because I could see it, I began a creative practice in earnest.
My inner artist had always been there, whispering to me, and the artist in me that would come to prioritize making art was born.
And there is so much more art to make -- methods to experiment with, techniques to learn, classes to take. It turns out my need for creativity was latent and once it had a place to breathe, everything changed.
It doesn't matter if I sell art, it only matters that I fully express the creativity I was born to allow. I'm more fully alive when I'm tapping into the vibrant stream of creative energy that is now vital to my wildly happy existence.
What would happen if you explored your internal capacity -- which I am certain is in you -- and made some art today?
If you're game, I'll issue a small challenge -- a way to get started: Go get this sketchbook. And this pen. Every day when you wake up, use them to doodle. There are no rules and no judgment. Let your imagination take over, and allow the pen to go where it goes. Play!
It's a practice I've developed over the past several years and I can count on it to stay in creative expression. The most gratifying part is that I'm creating something every single day.
And I want you to tap into the creative urges lying latent in you, so you can be wildly creative.