Creative blocks – childhood events that can cause them

So let me tell you what put me off art at a very young age, the thing that formed one of my major creative blocks.  You might think I took a shine to painting from the time I could manage to hold a paint brush.
Sadly, this was not the case for me. When I was around eight I remember sitting in class one day. We had been asked to draw a portrait., which I had nearly finished doing. In fact I was feeling quite proud of that fledgling art work. The little artist in me was alive and well for about twenty minutes. Until the teacher arrived at my desk.

catholic nun teaching photo

The picture above pretty much embodies the feeling I got from the nun looking over my shoulder as she came around the room.  She stopped and remarked on everyone’s work.  However when she got to me she just stopped and said nothing.  Standing there for several moments before moving on.  Well my little artist felt the world crashing down in a deafening silence.  I felt like I’d done the worst picture in the room, it being so bad that it wasn’t worthy of any kind of comment – good or bad.

It was a long time before I tried drawing and painting again. However there were two fundamental lessons I finally learnt from this incident…..

  • One,  that we can give any meaning we like to an event and that you can therefore go back and change your perception about that event.
  • Two, that at that time I began a pattern of needing others approval to feel good about myself. At the time I felt judged and found wanting. Lack of self-worth and self-criticism crept in, two terrible twins of resistance that followed in many areas of my life  and certainly on the creative path.

However shining a light into this memory, helped me understand my error and grieve for my little artist self, which in turn enabled me to move on and begin feeling proud of my work.

This week’s question: Have you gone back and mined your childhood for information about your blocks yet?

Look For Thursday’s Post:   A different kind of abstraction

Next Monday’s Post: Fun in France!! 

Photo by www.audio-luci-store.it

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