This Mr. Roger's video has been making the Internet rounds lately, and it struck a particular chord with me. You see, my art skills fall in the VERY MEDIOCRE range, but making art -- the making and creating -- is one of my favorite things on earth. As you might guess, the finished products of my art-making have generally been VERY MEDIOCRE, which disappoints this competitive, gold-star-loving heart nearly to death. I mean, if I can't be the best -- or at least very, very good -- then what's the point?
But Mr. Rogers, unsurprisingly, has it right.
"Do you like to draw with crayons? I do, but I'm not very good at it. It doesn't matter. It's just the fun of doing it that's important."
I think one of the best gifts of this middle age is understanding how to enjoy the journey. Where I used to rush through a complicated recipe, focused on making it past the finish line, now I'm much more interested in the rhythm of chopping, the thickening of the bechamel, the satisfying crackles off the frying pan. I'm interested in every step of the very-scientific process that turns my jar of yeast and bacteria into a loaf of sourdough bread.
Mixing watercolors on my palette IS the end result. I watch them swirl and change and dry into interesting patterns. I can draw 15 variations of peonies in my drawing notebook and then toss it aside. I have no visions of becoming a professional peony artist. Of selling them. Of digitizing them for mass production. The thing was the 45 minutes of feeling my pen glide across the smooth paper, of creating a peony where there was blankness, of feeling the joy in creating something from nothing.
Want to join in on the making? Here are some places to get started:
- Skillshare! I love this site. There are about a zillion classes I want to try. My daughter, Madison, and I had a great time with this one.
- Shutterbean's instagram. She has an incredible blog, but her @thehandwritingclub instagram account shows her making art EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's super inspiring.
- Take a real, live, in-person class. If you are in Houston, I highly recommend Half Moon Lettering. I've done her calligraphy and chalk lettering workshops -- both were super fun.
- Want to try your hand at sourdough? Get started at The Clever Carrot. Her book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple is my go-to reference.
- Tell us what you are making!