Jody Noelle Coughlin Art Blog
How do you know you are an artist? I__™m not exactly the running authority in the world of art, per se. I am painfully aware of this. Sometimes, because I paint and draw (and most recently decided to try my hand at clay sculptures) I feel I am expected to know things I simply don__™t yet. I think it is a self-inflicted form of expectancy. It's true that I am harder on myself than I am on others for reasons I have yet to understand.
I pick up tidbits of information here and there about art, but I am not a formally trained artist. I don__™t know a lot about art history. I don__™t know a lot about any one thing, in fact. I__™ve gone it alone, mostly, since I started painting but someday, I plan to go to art school. In fact, next fall might be my year. I__™ve got my fingers crossed. A girl sleeps perchance to dream...
I don__™t believe I have to go to an art school to declare myself an artist, though. An artist just is... And I just am. Here are my clues as to why I am sure I must be a natural born artist:
I intimidated the local make-up shop lady once. This is a gal who has made-up Hollywood stars on films sets. I don__™t buy a lot of make-up, but I did encounter her, when I was volunteering to help with the costume make-up for a local production of The Wizard of Oz. When she spotted me for the first time in her life, she looked at me and, suddenly, a deer in the headlights haze came over her. She said to me ___ You are very creative, aren__™t you?___ as though I had a strange aura about me. It threw me off a bit. I__™ve never intimidated anyone before, at least not that I am aware of. But this girl seemed afraid of me. I didn__™t really enjoy her reaction because I couldn__™t quite discern wether it was a good thing or a bad thing. She still seems skittish when I am around her, which isn__™t often. As I mentioned earlier, I don__™t invest a lot of money in make-up. I prefer a little mascara and some lip gloss and then I am out the door.
There was also a time when I was a kid, in grade one, I entered my first art contest. The theme was about what Easter meant to me. Well, that was easy! Growing up in a Christian household, I knew all about the topic of Easter so I drew Jesus hanging on the cross, as the story goes in the Bible. Mary Magdalene was at the foot of the cross, weeping. It was a devastatingly tragic piece of art for a six year old girl. My drawing was replete with Roman Soldiers in red ___broom___ helmets and thieves on other crosses on opposing sides of Jesus. I had nothing but the sincerest respect for the Easter story and I merely put those feelings into my image. I won first place. I was awarded a stuffed rabbit, incidentally. It was incredibly ironic and somewhat confusing to win the rabbit but I was thrilled just the same. It was white and fluffy and cute.
Over the years, there have been other clues to lead me to believe I might, in fact, be an artist, though it has taken me years to really see the relevance behind such events. In grade three, for example, I was given a sheet with a circle drawn on it. I was supposed to color it as part of some kind of math lesson. I guess we must have been learning about shapes that day. I colored my circle lemon-yellow but no matter how I tried, I could not keep my yellow inside the lines of that circle. My yellow kept leaking further and further outside of that foreboding black perimeter. I grew frustrated and kept trying to trace the circle bigger with my crayon in hopes that my teacher might not notice my unintentional rebellion. She did notice however, and made some kind of remark about the fact that I was terrible at coloring. What a crushing experience! I had my doubts, that day, that I was an artist. I couldn__™t follow instructions and when I used a bright color to finish a coloring project, I went wildly out of control with the thing. All artists have dark times like this, I imagine, and this was one of mine. One of many.
The deciding factor in all of this, for me, was when I remembered something I used to do all the time as a child. I drummed up bogus art projects just to have an excuse to sit at my kitchen table to draw. I loved doing that. Now, I realize when I look back, in essence, what I did was flat-out lie to my mom about my homework. Why didn__™t I just ask her for a pencil and some paper? I don__™t know why I didn__™t but what really jumps out at me here is the fact that I was never satisfied with simplistic solutions. Nope. Everything I did, even as a child, had to possess a certain flair, a certain dramatic je ne sais quoi in order to be worth doing. Again, this is a sure sign that I was born an artist before I knew what artist actually meant.
I also know I must be an artist because I sold the painting featured in this blog post... Another clue. But, now I am bragging...? Another clue, am I bragging? Or simply stating the facts? It's a fine line, my friends. It's a very fine line.
I don't have an ending for this blog post. I don't. I know it needs one, but I am fresh out of ideas... Another clue as to the fact that I am an artist. I need to be inspired and I'm just not right now. So be it. It is what it is. It just is what it is...