I've been thinking about creativity/artistic ability/whatever-you-want-to-call-it a lot lately. Probably because of the book I'm reading, The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer. Also because of the direction my "creating" as taken recently.
I believe that my artistic talent is a gift from God. I believe that it will always be there, even after twenty years. I believe that whatever gift you've been given is yours to keep. And, I am very thankful for all of it.
I know that this gift is not magic. I know that I have to work on my skills constantly or they'll get rusty. I know that being creative, imaginative, artistic, whatever- is draining, exhausting and, sometimes, quiet.
When I was in college, I had a friend who was an incredible drawer. Everything he did was astounding- technically, creatively. I liked sitting a little behind him in class to watch how he executed whatever drawing he was working on. I learned a lot from him, just by watching and copying his techniques. Anyway, I remember his telling me how much he hated when people called him "gifted" or "talented". What upset him was that they weren't acknowledging how hard he worked. I didn't quite understand him at the time. He certainly made drawing look like an act of magic. But, as time passed, I understood.
I can draw. I can draw quite well. But it has been awhile since I have really sat down and put pencil to paper like I did way back when. What I do now is different from what I did then. But, I'm okay with that. What I did then was motivated by others. What I do now is all me.
And, you want to know what's cool? I was looking through my old portfolios, showing my boys what I used to do. -Don't get me started on the giggling during the life drawing portion of the show. Little boys squealing and yelling "Naked! Naked!" while I'm trying to explain that they aren't naked, they are nudes. There is a difference.- Anyway, I started to see a common thread between what I did then and what I am doing now. It was really exciting to see that. Like the inspiration has been patiently waiting for me to get back to it. I'm so glad I did!
To summarize: "talent" is a gift. It's like a special seed that is planted inside a person. You can let it sit there and be a seed, never growing and becoming something even more amazing. Or, you can feed it, care for it, watch it grow and grow right along with it. Do you ever wonder if there are any "seeds" inside you, waiting to sprout?