Running Down a Dream: How Did you Get Started?

Following a dream is something many of us ponder. We start out with great excitement and a maybe a little worry or fear. But mostly we are gung-ho to be setting out on our path toward being or doing something that fills us with inspiration. What is your big dream story? One of my favorites is about becoming an artist.

I have been exploring art making for most of my life. Growing up, I was surrounded by creative people. My mom taught ceramics in our home and often let us play with the pieces that were chipped or broken or simply discarded by her students. Her finished pieces were amazing to me. Subtle glazes blended with exquisite detail.  My older sister was a skilled cartoonist,  carefully reproducing characters from the comic strips that ran in the Sunday paper. Art making surrounded me and I was itching to be a part of it.

My first true inspiration was my first “canvas”: an entire sheet rocked wall that ran the length of our basement that our parents “gave” us for coloring.  That’s right, we were allowed to fill the entire wall with color-crayon masterpieces. Can you imagine? Most kids get in trouble for drawing on the walls. We were given free reign. I loved not having lines I had to follow, designated shapes I was supposed to colorize. I wanted to draw my own designs, imagine my own stories into life.

It was an amazing gift. I felt so lucky! None of my friends had walls they could color on with crayons. I spent hours working on my first mural, a story about a machine that could give you anything you wanted. I carefully added details to flesh out the machine: little selection windows that allowed you to view what you were getting, a number of drawers for things to pop out of, lots of buttons and nobs and levers for adjusting. It was a true work of art.

I remember sitting across the room from our art wall with my three siblings admiring our work one afternoon when my sister noticed something on her part of the wall that she had not drawn. After some discussion we agreed that none of us had made the marks in question. Then it dawned on us what had happened: someone had broken into our house to draw on our wall!

We ran upstairs to tell our parents who burst out laughing. Of course no one had broken into our house. “Don’t be silly,” mom said, “one of you must have done it and just forgot.” And no matter how we protested that we had a system for knowing which part of the wall was ours to draw on, they pooh-poohed our foolish concerns. Determined not to be written off, we returned to our crayon wall vowing to memorize every detail so we could prove our case. We knew the truth. We had a very valuable thing EVERYONE would want. Of course people were breaking in to draw on our wall.

Over time we moved on to new adventures and mysteries, forgetting all about the day we discovered potential art burglars. But I have never forgotten the wall I could draw on when I was six years old. It was amazing. I have been “drawing” outside of the rules ever since. I even color on my walls today sometimes. It makes me smile.

What helped you get started on your creative adventure?

Who was your big inspiration?

Have you ever tried to relive that first inspiration?

What happened?

Views: 33

Comment by Kathy Lynn on June 6, 2011 at 1:18pm
What a wonderful experience, and gift your parents gave.  Better than any coloring book I had that's probably decomposed years ago.
Comment by Suzanne Vadnais Monson on June 6, 2011 at 1:52pm

I often marvel over the creativity at play here. My parents were not impressed with coloring books. My mom thought they were sexist! It was the early 60's and she was a budding feminist. She told me that she thought it was the most logical solution and it was free. I am still thanking her!

Comment by Krysthle Poitras on June 7, 2011 at 3:49pm
What a great story. Thank you for sharing.  I don`t think I can remember when it all started for me.  For all I know, I`ve always been attracted to arts and crafts.  I do know that my mother was very helpful telling me how great I could draw and sending me to art classes as a child. I think that the classes definately pushed me to appreciate arts even more.
Comment by Suzanne Vadnais Monson on June 7, 2011 at 8:20pm
Thank you so much Krysthle! I am happy to hear your mom helped and supported you. It is so wonderful to get this when we are young! I know it helped me a lot to have my very unusual coloring wall. ; >
Comment by Thaneeya McArdle on June 8, 2011 at 4:25pm
Sue, your parents sound really awesome.  No wonder you turned out so well!  ;)  I love that you had an entire wall in your basement that you and your siblings could color on. So funny about the "burglar who broke in to color on the wall".  Thank you for this inspirational post. :)
Comment by Suzanne Vadnais Monson on June 8, 2011 at 5:07pm
Thanyeeya would you believe we still talk about the "burglar" episode today? It cracks us up! Thanks for the cudos on tuning out well. I'll let my parents know! lol
Comment by Suzanne Vadnais Monson on June 8, 2011 at 7:46pm
Thaneeya, I am getting a little too creative with your name! Sorry! What do you think of Thany Mae? Just my warped sense of humor. Sorry! I'm sure you've had a lifetime of people misspelling or miss-typing your name!
Comment by Thaneeya McArdle on June 10, 2011 at 2:58am
Lol, Su, I just noticed your comment... and funnily enough, I misspelled your name too by adding an 'e' to the end of 'Su'!  :)  That's so funny that you suggested Thany Mae, because a good friend of mine nicknamed me Thany Mac over 10 years ago!  The "Mac" is in reference to my last name.  And yes, I am very used to people foibling my name in print and in pronunciation. :)
Comment by Suzanne Vadnais Monson on June 10, 2011 at 2:20pm
And just so you know, I am so many versions of Suzanne to the people in my life I really do not notice! I am Suzie, Su, Sue, Suzanne and Sweezie (to my husband!). So never worry about how you spell my name. I am the one that makes it's just easier!
Comment by Anna Manafe on June 11, 2011 at 12:45pm
whoa. I WILL be a parent like that in the future! I will allow my children to doodle on their walls! :D I have 2 plans now, the 1st one is to photograph me+my child in the same pose every year, showing the growth.
Anyway I remembered I draw and draw everyday, everywhere, as long as I have a blank white paper. :) Luckily nobody cared about go-green thingy when I was a little girl.


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