When I was younger, I had no idea that I had any artistic talent. In fact I thought I was devoid of it – that being able to ‘do art’ was something you were born with, and I wasn’t. It took me a long time to recognise some things about art.
One of the things that started me thinking I had an artistic bone in my body was when my son encouraged me to have a go at painting his Warhammer miniatures. (Warhammer, you ask? Picture toy soldiers meet Dungeons and Dragons meets chess.) These guys come as little grey metal or plastic pieces (the standard ones are around 5cm high), which you have to glue together and – paint. I couldn’t paint to save myself.. could I? After a year of his cajoling and convincing, I finally gave in – and instantly discovered a passion. My early attempts weren’t the best, but I read and researched and practiced – I got better at it, and even won a prize or two for my efforts!
One of the first things I realised is that art can be found in many mediums. ‘Craft’ can be a form of ‘art’. So the ability to knit and sew and embroider and crochet can all be artistic talents. Gosh, huh, who would have thunk?
The second thing is that artists can be made as well as born. Painting and drawing (and all those crafty pursuits) are skills that you can learn! I amazed myself when I went from being a bad stick figure drawer, to being able to freehand draw realistic three dimensional pictures of jewellery in just a few lessons!
The third thing is that practice makes perfect. Sure, we all know those three year olds with the freakish ability to pick up a pencil and make masterpieces – but for those of us without that fortune, just keep trying, keep experimenting. It will come!
And finally – art is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve seen some expensive ‘masterpieces’ that anyone with a sponge and some poster paint could have slapped together – and some divine works of art that go practically unrecognised. Each to their own – just have the courage to appreciate (and do) what you really like!
And if you’d like to see more of my Warhammer painting efforts from this previous life, you can visit my ‘Cool Mini or Not’ gallery. There are some TOTALLY awesome artists there if you browse a bit further afield!