Scratching the Creative Itch

The summer after my junior year of college I had a boss who gave me a constant stream of wise and not-so-wise words to live by. It was he who first dumped on me the harshest reality of the working world. “Molly,” he growled, “Life is a lot like high school. You wake up early, do work you don’t want to do, and report to a lot of other people. Enjoy college, because life will be high school all over again, except longer.” Or something more eloquent than that.

Well, Wise Boss, in many ways that’s true. I have a schedule that’s more like high school, a set of tasks more like high school, people telling me to do things (pay for this, prepare for that) like high school, and an alarm clock that I actually have to listen to, no matter how tired I am, just like high school. Wise Boss, however, left out the part where it’s totally acceptable to kill a bottle of wine after work, you have no real rules to speak of, and I spend my days considering how to best accommodate women and their breasts (okay to be fair he couldn’t have planned for that part).

But since my jazzy entrance into real life I have noticed one other thing that’s happening just like high school: I got that creative itch that wants to be scratched. Since I spend my day being less than artistic, I’ve found myself more and more antsy to start being creative again, either by drawing or making videos or painting.

The beckoning of very sharp pencils

I’m no Frida Kahlo, and by that I mean I don’t have a unibrow. But I’m also no Monet, and I don’t fancy myself ever being one. I make the arts just fine, and the best compliment anyone ever lied to me was by telling me I was a great artist (but he was also a boyfriend and contractually obligated to appreciate my art). I do, however, love to draw and paint, and I’m increasingly realizing that it’s something important for me to do in my life. I’ve been trying to set aside just a little time here and there to draw, whether it’s doodling a few pages while I watch TV or sketching my feet as I fight to stay awake in bed.I haven’t yet invested in a set of West Coast paints (that’s my new thing, having West Coast versions of all my East Coast things), but that’s next to come.

Being in a new city has also reawakened my love of wandering around museums for hours at a time, something I’m hoping I’ll finally get myself to do at the De Young soon. I did make it to the Cindy Sherman exhibit at the SFMOMA which was pretty amazing. But even just being in a city that’s still relatively new, and that’s fairly creative, has made me realize how much it’s something I miss. There are murals everywhere, museums galore, and a bevy of creative people. Hopefully that will give me the kick in the ass I need and one of these days I’ll finally get around to making myself do more than just doodle.

Side note: it took me until now to realize just how many parentheses I use. Wow.

In the meantime, I’m looking for projects to start to keep scratching that creative itch and to stop the creative part of my brain from atrophying. That’s a thing. Any suggestions for projects or creative prompts? A true artist wouldn’t need internet inspiration, but as we already decided, I’m no Damien Hirst, by which I mean I have no room to play with formaldehyde.

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