Mermaids, Fantasies and Art

 Mermaids, Fantasies and Art


About ten years ago I decided that when people asked me what I did or who I was, I would confidently reply, “I am an artist”. No matter how I was making a living or if my  mermaid coloring pages status was that of a ‘starving artist’ or not, I would announce, “I am an artist”. I would proclaim what I had fantasized myself to be since I was a little girl.

I started to draw at three and four years old, in the back seat of my parents car as they drove from state to state, looking for rainbows I suspect. I was a little girl drawing mermaids, angel art ,fairy art, fantasy art in general. I tried as best I could to make that world alive. I made my own coloring pages. As I grew older I had free paper dolls available to me anytime I decided to make drawings or little paintings of them. Drawings of mermaids and fairies that I imagined to be just like Renaissance paintings. My talent was as good as I decided it could be. My free paper dolls were not paper toys at all, my paper mermaid once given a chance became a real mermaid. Fantasy art would one day be wall murals of a world I would create from my imagination . I did not know of Pablo Picasso; Kandinsky; Marc Chagall; or the softness of Mary Cassatt. I had never gone to an art gallery to see Salvador Dali paintings; Leonardo da Vinci paintings; or Claude Monet paintings. Such a world to discover ahead of me, full of fine art; paintings and sculptures. As a child I had my own fantasy gallery though and everything I saw became magical.

So what happens as we grow older and those feelings of pretend and fantasy become dull? We find ourselves wondering what took away that spirit of optimism and adventure. When did paper toys appear only as paper, no longer something that fairies, mermaids and dragons became alive in? Does it matter? Is it OK that that part of us that became Tinker Bell or a dragon is no longer there? Or maybe is it OK to try to find them again?

People tell me all the time that they cannot even draw a straight line.

Do you ‘want’ to learn how to draw though? Do you wish you could? Did you draw when you were little? Often the answer is yes.

When you were going to school did anyone ever hand you a piece of paper and say, show me what you can do with algebra without any knowledge of it or any help? Did anyone ever tell you to write a story without first teaching you how to print individual letters? We do that kind of thing with art though don’t we? We think that if a child sits down and draws and does a half way decent job that they are talented. Maybe they are, but maybe the kid sitting next to him could be too, even though he/she has no confidence to draw that straight line because no one taught him how to draw. I think that talent is ‘desire’ and the rest is practice. If you ‘want’ to be able to draw a straight line or mermaids or dragons then you ‘are’ talented. You are an artist waiting to happen! Somewhere along the line someone dampened your spirit so you stopped trying and stopped dreaming. It may not be in fine art, it may be in writing. You may be itching to say, “I am a writer!” even though you might be making your living as a lawyer or a dishwasher. It is art in our souls and I think we need it.



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