art with a lower case “a”

Art is intimidating. Although children usually make art spontaneously, most of us stopped doing art in our early teens.

Unless you identify with being an Artist with a capital “A,” art may be something that you relegate to your talented sister, your artsy friend who is naturally creative and has an eye for color and design, or the gifted few who seem to be born with imagination and artistic skill.

In our work, we find that many people, when they see that they might be doing art, insist that they can barely draw stick figures. Having to interact with art supplies seems very intimidating. Interestingly enough, “real” artists are often put off as well because they feel pressure to create something “beautiful” that shows off their artistic prowess.

Creativity guru Danny Gregory suggests that we bring art into our lives more actively whether we are trained artists or not. In Art Before Breakfast, he encourages doing art daily-especially in the morning-quick sketches of your environment, your breakfast, contour drawings of your furniture. Art helps process our thoughts, give us a different perspective, sorts out cobwebs of confusion, and give us clarity. Art puts some order to the chaos and gets us out of our heads. We would also suggest using it at night to close out the day, put it to bed for the night.

Notes from James Gordon Lecture at Smith Center by Rebecca

Notes from James Gordon Lecture at Smith Center by Rebecca

Gregory believes we would be less intimated about making art if we thought of it art with a small “a” instead of Art with a capital “A”.

Art with a capital “A” is for galleries, critics, and collectors.
art with a small “a” is for everyone.
Art with a capital “A” is for exhibition.
art with a small “a” is for expression
Art with a capital “A” is about commerce.
art with a small “a” is about connection.
Art with a capital “A” is an event.
art with a small “a” is a practice.
Art with a capital “A” is hard to access.
art with a small “a” is open access.
Art with a capital “A” requires training and skill.
art with a small “a” requires only willingness and experimentation.
Art with a capital “A” is about product.
art with a small “a” is about process.
Art with a capital “A” is finished.
art with a small “a” is developing.
Art with a capital “A” should be perfect.
art with a small “a” has mistakes and imperfections.
Art with a capital “A” requires time and space.
art with a small “a” can happen anytime anyplace.

So we recommend using art with a small “a” more often–doodle more, sketch out a problem, draw your morning coffee, make stick figures of the people (and creatures) in your life and personalize them with details and designs, put your thoughts on paper with art. Ask a question and answer it with art. See what happens when you become an artist with a small “a”.

Share any sketches, doodles, or art “thoughts” on our facebook page. Post on our website and on our Facebook page!

My name is Rebecca Wilkinson. I'm a licensed clinical art therapist and an artist. I use the creative process to help people learn more about themselves and experience a higher quality of life. I can be reached at rebecca@creativewellbeingworkshops.com