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 Suzanne Vadnais Monson on June 11, 2011 at 8:26pm
Anna, so happy you were rich with drawing paper when you were little! And I'm trilled to know my story has inspired you to try out some radical parenting ideas. I can't tell you how much I wish I had a picture of that wall today to show the kids in my life. I was six years old and will never forget it!
Comment by Suzanne Vadnais Monson on July 26, 2011 at 1:48pm
There is no doubt in my mind that these early influences helped to shape my creative approach to life! Good luck with your blog Grace. I can't wait to read it!


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