Lately I’ve been trying to develop my artistic talents. I’ve never had any sort of training (someday!), but I know that I really enjoy painting, drawing etc., and that it’s incredibly therapeutic (even more so than my beloved sewing). I need all the free therapy I can get right now, as things continue to be difficult with Tiny (since her surgery she has been happier, but as far as feeding goes, it looks like her swallowing problems were unrelated to the cleft, and that she’ll have this feeding tube for the foreseeable future).
So for my sister Em‘s birthday a couple weeks ago I wanted to try and paint their family portrait. I wanted to really exercise my creativity and come up with something unique for them. As I painted though, it kept evolving to look more and more like a local artist’s portraits, that I’ve long been a fan of. It wasn’t conscious, I didn’t even look at hers, but afterwards when I looked them up, I was disappointed at how much “exercise in creativity” turned out just like hers. Dang. Is it copying if I wasn’t trying to? I struggle with that raw creativity thing. Even when I try, I’m subconsciously influenced by what I’ve seen and like. Of course mine isn’t exactly like hers (hers are way cooler), but its obvious that her style was (even subconsciously) influencing my picture. There’s a fantastic post about using other’s ideas over at evie s that I really like. After reading it I was inspired to draw from and learn from others ideas and this experience, and then just keep working at it allowing my own style and creativity to develop as I go. You gotta start somewhere, and I did learn a lot about watercolor doing this. In the end, I really do like how it looks and am pleased with the likeness. (How do you like it, Em?)
Speaking of amateurs, I recently received my first hate-mail from an anonymous reader. She criticized my site saying that everything I did was ugly and cheap-looking, that I didn’t know what I was talking about, and that I was a bad writer. She mentioned specifically some techniques and spelling errors in my Anthropologie Hue Pyramid Earring Tutorial , so I figured she was probably a real jewelry designer, and was obviously offended by lack of expertise (although I specifically mentioned I’m no professional and have just figured it out on my own in that post). In one way I totally get it. We live in a DIY world, and the internet has made us all self-taught seamstresses, artists, decorators, photographers, ETC, and I can understand how the real professionals out there would get tired of seeing us amateurs pump out tutorial after tutorial about stuff we only sorta-kinda know about. Another part of me says who cares?? Who cares if I made a tutorial and didn’t properly close my jump ring and misspelled pliers. Why take the time to write me a scathing email about it? I guess that’s part of putting yourself out there. Some people are mean. On the flip side of that, that post is one of my most popular, and I received two different emails that same week from people taking the time to tell me how much they liked it, and enjoyed making their own. Some people are so nice.
Have you had any experience with this stuff? I know there’s lots of different sides to both of these matters, so I’d be interested to hear what you think.