8"w x 7"h, coloured pencil on Stonehenge
copyright Teresa Mallen
For me Easter lilies are a sign of spring, new beginnings and a symbol of hope. I think we can all use a new beginning, a fresh start now and again. What better time than on the threshold of a brand new year?
I love new beginnings. In fact I look on the beginning of each month, the start of a new week or even the morning of a brand new day as an opportunity to have a fresh new chance at things.
So as we enter this new year let me ask you this: What do you want for your life? I'm not talking about winning the lottery but something deeper...are you happy with your life? If twelve months from now your life were to be exactly as it is now, would that be okay? Or do you long for more? Again, I ask, what do you want for your life? At first this may seem simple, but actually a lot of people don't know what they want. They go through life getting up everyday, going through the motions, dealing with all the stuff that comes up and then they go to bed to crash, so they can get up the next day and do it all over again. Survival. Yes, we have all been there, but life can be so much more! But first you have to determine what it is you want.
To define what it is you want, start by looking at what your dreams are, your daydreams, the if onlys. What are you passionate about?
As someone who is reading an art journal blog, I would guess that your dream might include being an artist or perhaps being a better artist. The great news is that you can! All you need some forward momentum...
Perhaps you don't believe me...well hopefully my own art journey will inspire you. I didn't do any art as a child. I didn't draw all my waking moments, in fact I didn't draw at all. I had no desire or ability. I coloured in colouring books and I painted some paint by number kits. That was it. By the time I was a young adult, I started going to art galleries, museums and shows. I became aware of a longing. An 'if only'...so I started to try. I quickly discovered that oil paints were difficult for someone who didn't have a clue what she was doing. I read books, I tried acrylics. I was frustrated so I eventually gave up. But the desire didn't go away. By now I realized I had no talent or natural ability but I gave myself permission to try drawing just for fun. One Christmas holiday I picked up a pencil and did a sketch on a piece of scrap paper of a candle centerpiece on my coffee table. I erased a lot but at the end of the evening it looked like a candle in a centerpiece and most importantly, I had enjoyed myself. The next morning I tackled drawing my coffee cup. Lots more erasing but in the end it looked somewhat like my mug. Then I drew another cup and then a rose that I went out and bought. Yikes, that one took a while. But I was captivated. I was enjoying this. I bought a sketchbook and I started filling it with one image after another. That is how I got here!
I never started following my passion in order to sell originals, or to develop and teach classes or to have a website and an art blog. I did it because it gave me pleasure.
Perhaps I am a good example of a late bloomer. I hope that my life's journey will inspire you to start chasing your dreams. I know you will be surprised where following your passion leads you.
Dare to dream a bigger dream. Allow for incredible possibilites. Stop thinking about it, talking about it and just do it - whatever your 'it' is.
Will it all be smooth sailing? Probably not...I had to work quite a while to get my coloured pencil work to look decent. Be tenacious. Don't quit and give up.
So, do you know what you want? Why not make 2009 the year you start going for it? Set yourself a goal. For me, I grew tired of just filling a sketchbook. I decided that I would go for a really BIG dream - having something I thought was good enough to frame and hang on my wall. I looked at a calendar. My birthday was nine months away. It looked like a good deadline. I coloured and coloured. I studied books and I practiced and practiced. It was close but I made it. By my birthday, I had created a small coloured pencil picture that I was satisfied with. I stuck it in a store bought frame (I even painted the frame) and I put it on the wall in my dining room. Talk about gratifying. I was tickled...and now I was unstoppable. Less than two years later I was juried into my first big show. Don't be afraid to start small! Just start!
It is never too late to start living your dreams...please feel free to write me and let me know what you have decided to chase. I will happily cheer you on.