On Releasing Your Inner Artist

As an editor of SingleMindedWomen.com, I am both a writer and a reader. Although I am associated with career issues, as a reader I enjoy the many topics SMW covers. In fact, it’s one of my favorite websites. (Shameless self-promotion, but true nonetheless.)

I was particularly moved when I read “Why Women Should Paint” by Judi Morales Gibson. The article resonates with me not only because it’s so well-written, but because it reminds me of my late mother.

My mother started painting when she was in her 60s, after she retired from her job as an administrative assistant for the school district in the town where she lived. I remember talking to her on the phone and she said, “I think I’m going to try painting.”

At first I thought she was talking about painting rooms in the house, which she already did. My mother was very good at that kind of painting; the rooms in my parents’ house, which she painted, looked more professional than work I’ve paid to have done.

But no, she was talking about painting, as in brush on canvas. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to try,” she said.

Until that point, I hadn’t thought of my mother as particularly creative or artistic, but I realized then that she did have an artist’s sensibility. She had a great sense of color and was terrific at decorating. She was also very creative when it came to sewing, taking pieces from various patterns to get the look she desired. Sometimes she even made clothes without using patterns. My mother also worked in the yard, creating flower gardens that bloomed from spring through fall.

So, yes, I encouraged her to go for it. Well, the results were astounding. From the moment she picked up a brush, it was as if she had always been an artist. This was a woman who had never taken an art class, not even way back in high school. Yet her paintings were incredibly accomplished, and she got better and better.

My mother painted for about eight years, until her health problems and then my father’s death silenced her creativity. My mother died in 2006, but the paintings from her years as an artist live on. In my house, as in the homes of my brothers and sister, several hang.

People who see the paintings always admire them. They also can’t believe the artist wasn’t a professional, and that she had no training. Yes, I’m bragging, but the paintings are that good.

My mother was extremely modest. I remember telling her she should exhibit at an art show and she laughed softly. She likewise would have felt embarrassed about having her talent broadcasted on an Internet blog. Sorry, Mom, I’m going to do it anyway.

So many women have untapped creative abilities. These gifts often go unexplored and undeveloped because of more pressing, practical concerns. Women especially seem willing to sacrifice parts of themselves, to place their interests on hold as they focus on daily tasks and responsibilities.

But, as Judi Morales Gibson says, “Women should not have to wait until their sixties to rediscover themselves. It’s time to let their creativity run free.”

Pick up a paint brush, a musical instrument, a camera. Write that poem or story. Release your inner artist. You may be amazed by the person inside you.

Paula Santonocito
Career Editor, SingleMindedWomen.com