When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an artist.
At four years old, encouraged by my mom’s appreciation of my artistic efforts, my ambition was to grow up to be a professional artist.
But my dream of being an artist was very short-lived.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that there were a lot of kids that could draw and sketch much better than me.
And as I realized how poor my efforts were compared to the best artists in the class (why do we only compare ourselves to the best, anyway?) I gave up my crayons and colored pencils and stuck with things I felt I could do better.
So You’re REALLY Not Talented?
It’s true – I really don’t have the artistic eye nor the natural talent that professional artists cultivate.
And the truth is, it’s easy to give up on things that are difficult for us, especially when we don’t see ourselves making progress.
But there are compelling reasons to encourage the inner artist hidden in each of us.
Creativity engages your mind and boosts your problem solving skills. It encourages self-awareness and enhances self-expression. And it gives you the freedom to take risks.
But the best reason for an adult to take up “art” as a hobby is for the benefits of relaxation and stress relief.
We all want to feel free to be ourselves, and art offers a perfect opportunity to do that.
The Case for Creativity
Do you remember that sense of confidence and excitement you had as a child when you were drawing, or dancing, or singing?
If you’ve ever seen a toddler proudly showing off his stick-figure drawing, you know the kind of enthusiasm I’m talking about.
How would it be if we could recapture that feeling for ourselves?
The first step in pursuing a creative hobby, is deciding what you want to do. And that can be half the fun.
It can be as easy as finding a paint-and-pour party, or as time-consuming as learning to play the piano.
It can be as tedious as learning a crafting technique to create a stained glass piece. Or it can be as entertaining as watching a beginner yoga class on you-tube.
The following suggestions include things you may have enjoyed as a child, but haven’t thought about doing since.
Don’t be shy because you don’t feel you have talent, or think that these are activities that only children enjoy.
The best reason to bring out your inner artist is to capture the passion and freedom that children experience when they first learn to express their creativity. The objective isn’t to become an expert – it’s to enjoy the process!
1. Inspire Your Inner Artist by Coloring
Coloring is one of the most basic – and probably earliest – memories any of us have of our art endeavors.
As I wrote this, I first considered sketching or drawing as the primary activity.
But in the end I decided that the comforting memories most of us associate with coloring would be a better fit.
And with the popularity of adult coloring books and online printables, grabbing the drawing of your choice and settling in for a relaxing session of coloring couldn’t be easier.
2. Inspire Your Inner Artist with Play Doh
Play-doh, of course, is the child’s version of clay, but somehow “clay” can seem a little complicated for the amateur.
After all, who wants a big lump of clay sitting around in their house? At least, not until they feel comfortable with their new hobby!
Play-doh, in its small-sized container with its familiar smell, is inexpensive to purchase and easy to keep, and can be quickly pulled out for a few minutes of peaceful modeling.
And a simple hobby can turn into a real artistic endeavor. You could end up making pottery or designing jewelry out of polymer clay!
But even if you don’t, you’ll learn to feel more relaxed and comfortable once you find your creative zone.
3. Inspire Your Inner Artist by Dancing
Some people are great dancers, while others are as uncomfortable dancing as they would be running through Wal-Mart in a bikini.
But dancing is good for you – not only for your body, but for your mind and soul, too. Remember being a little girl, and twirling around on one foot while you pretended to be a ballerina?
That’s the awesome freedom that dancing invokes.
Wouldn’t it be great to feel that free again? It IS possible. The trick is to begin feeling comfortable in your own skin.
Take baby steps by joining an adult (beginner) dance class, where you’ll learn to be more graceful and coordinated.
Or limber up your muscles and refine your movement, with a yoga program.
Or simply begin a walking regimen or stretching routine. The simplest routine will help you feel more limber, increase your flexibility, improve your balance and your coordination.
And the more you practice dancing or stretching in private, the more your inner confidence and happiness will spill over into other areas of your life. That’s the goal, after all!
4. Inspire Your Inner Artist by Singing
Like dancing, singing is something many people are comfortable with, especially in private (in the shower, or alone in the car, for instance).
For the truly timid, however, the thought of singing aloud is very uncomfortable, even if there is no one around.
Maybe it’s because we live in such a competitive and sometimes judgmental society.
Whatever the reason, it seems very sad to me that we would be too shy or embarrassed to sing out loud, simply for the enjoyment of doing it.
5. Inspire Your Inner Artist by Painting
Painting and coloring really involve different skill sets, and even different levels of skill.
So far, we’ve focused on creative endeavors you might have enjoyed as a child, before you became convinced you “weren’t good enough” or became “too busy” to keep doing it.
But now I’m pushing the envelope and encouraging you to try something that you might consider “over your head”.
Painting is something I’ve always dreamed of doing – but my lack of talent made me reluctant to try it. But recently, I’ve worked to stretch my creativity, and I’ve found that spending an hour or so once a week (“pretend painting” as I call it) is tremendously enjoyable and relaxing.
I’m still not any good at it. But for that little space of time, I am absorbed in my hobby, totally forgetting the cares and stresses of the day.
Anyway, my artwork is just for me (although my husband and daughter encourage me, too).
As I explored ways to set up a space that would work for my home business as well as a painting perch, I found that a well designed office not only nurtured my creative side but encouraged me to be productive and focused as well.
My personal set up now includes an art easel my (talented) daughter used years ago, as well as some art supplies stashed in my home office. Having a designated space and materials will give you more buy-in to get your new hobby started.
Give Your Inner Artist Some Freedom
We’ve only scratched the surface of the many ways you could encourage your inner artist to come out. I hope you’ll be inspired to try a new hobby, or perhaps take up one that you dropped long ago.
Remember – the goal of any artistic pursuit should be satisfaction of the artist, in mind, body and spirit.
If the artwork that you create turns into a real – well… work of art – so much the better!
And you know, now that I think of it, my mom is still one of my greatest fans. Perhaps she’d like my latest oil painting…
P.S. – Want a little extra nudge getting your creativity in motion? Jump in on the #2030 Creative Challenge from Jennie Moraitis at Little Girl Designs. Your age and skill level don’t matter – you just set aside 20 minutes each day for a month to work on your creative projects, whatever they may be. Jennie offers plenty of encouragement and inspiration along the journey. It’s awesome (and it’s FREE!) Have fun being creative!