Add to Your Artistic Toolbox
by Kari Pederson
When I was 6 years old, my favorite color crayons were periwinkle blue and burnt sienna. I loved the way the crayons looked and smelled, and how it felt to peel back the paper with my fingers. I even tested the brown crayons which, you should know, I sadly found did not taste like chocolate. I still remember my excitement as I opened each 64-count box.
The passion I felt for my magical crayons transferred to other artistic interests: drawing, painting and writing little books. I spent hours engrossed in my art and couldn’t wait to show off each and every masterpiece.
I didn’t worry about my skills or mastery of the craft. I made birds fly upside down, mixed tenses and metaphors, and ignored the little I knew about punctuation. The real joy for me was creating the art and sharing it. My pictures and stories were already perfect. I was totally unconcerned about others’ opinions.
Along the journey of life, however, most of us lose our innocent faith in the value of our work or viewpoint. A well-meaning friend, teacher, boss or loved one shares his or her critique.
Self-doubt can multiply like ants at a picnic. The apprehension or fear we feel can keep us from creating our art, finding our voice or sharing ourselves with the world.
Being an artist can make us feel exposed and vulnerable. We put a lot of ourselves into our work but don’t always receive admiration in return. Seriously, who wants to feel like we did navigating the 7th grade lunchroom? Although I might consider another try at adolescence if I could look like Cate Blanchett.
What if you had tips and techniques to help you feel better about putting your art into the world? Tools to use when you feel discouraged or scared about taking the next step. Tools to help you build your confidence as a writer/artist or to discover what inspires you. Tools as important to your artistry as a thesaurus, your favorite brushes or those magical crayons of childhood.
Voicecatcher’s mission is to connect, inspire and empower female writers and artists. I will be supporting that fabulous mission through this new column, “Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit – Limitless Possibilities.” A new article will be posted every month – unless I win a free trip to Hawaii and forget to bring my laptop.
This column will highlight tips and techniques on topics designed to empower you, and information to help you get your message out to others and feel great doing it:
- Expect to build your courage muscles.
- Learn about positive psychology principles.
- Get real about how to constructively deal with feedback or criticism.
- Read inspirational stories of women who triumphed over incredible odds.
- Laugh, reflect and rediscover what fuels and inspires you.
Oprah writes a successful column for O Magazine entitled “What I Know For Sure.” Allow me to recap what I know for sure about human potential:
- People are incredibly strong and resilient.
- Standing still is often the only difference between those who are successful and those who stay stuck.
- Everyone is doing the best they can at any given moment and it’s enough.
- Ordinary people are routinely capable of extraordinary things.
- We are much stronger united together in community than apart.
Through my work with people over the last 25 years, I know we do not dream big enough. Opportunities are lost because we underestimate our own capabilities.
One of my favorite quotes is from the book Return to Love by Marianne Williamson:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be?
I hope to start a conversation about the amazing things we can achieve when we get out of our own way. What do you want to accomplish? Join in the conversation. Add to your artistic toolbox. Rediscover the joy of your 6-year-old artist. Come along on the journey to limitless possibilities.
Kari Pederson, MSW, LCSW, is a writer, clinical social worker and wellness coach who has worked with children and adults for over 25 years. An avid student of positive psychology, she loves helping people live their best lives. Kari is a new writer to VoiceCatcher’s community website and thrilled to be part of its mission.