Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hidden Art Ch. 2: What is Hidden Art?

Part 3 in a series on Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking

Schaeffer defines "Hidden Art" as that which is involved in the everday, rather than as someone's profession or career. She believes that every person has some unfulfilled longing or talent which should be expressed and developed, and that these interests will widen over the course of a lifetime. There is a time and a place for formal art study, but Shaeffer encourages us to live artistically in the present.

My reflections:
To me, this chapter was particularly meaningful even though it is the shortest in the entire book. I must share a confession: I have always been intimidated by artists.

I don't know how it happened. I was a crafty kid and loved to draw-- some of my old elementary teachers still have sketches I did while in their classs. I have memories of my mother taking me to her oil painting classes -- I took a few lessons one summer along with her. There were no art classes in my public school, however, and by the time I reached junior high/high school, I didn't feel it was worth it to take the effort to drive 20 minutes to continue that area of study. I was too busy. I stopped taking piano lessons. I stopped taking time to write.

College reignited my passion for art when I took a watercolor class one January term. I ended up presenting my Senior Seminar on the intersection of Servant Leadership and the arts. Two of my roommates were art majors and I had other good friends who were artists. But walking the halls of the art building, sometimes, I still felt like I just didn't fit in. Yes, I was an art minor, but only becuase I enjoyed the classes and ended up with enough credits (though I should've taken photography!). I think a deep-seated fear of not being "good enough" always kept me from pursuing art professionally. Whatever the reason, I didn't. And here I am, a wife and mother who longs to be creative but only makes the time to paint when I've paid for and scheduled a class.

Thankfully, this book has encouraged me to pursue creativity in my everyday life, NOW, and not just every so often when I get the urge. And now I can incorporate art into everything I do and not just wait until I carve out time to break out the easel or the craft boxes. Yes, I have to make an effort, but it feels easier to do when I can start small -- one blog post at a time.

Some early acknowledgements -- (I feel like I've won some award or published a book when I write this, but I just can't let this gratitude go unspoken.) I'm thankful for all those people who kept me going. For my mom who always inspires me whenever I see something she has painted hanging on a wall. For my friend Christine who got me to take an oil painting class with her a few years back. For Amy and Erin, who practically ooze creativity. For Gaines, for giving me plein air lessons for my birthday and buying me an easel and letting me buy random art and craft supplies and, especially, for encouraging me to continue. I'm also thankful for my friend Kitti who first recommended this book to me. She encouraged me to join both a writer's group and an artist's group a few years ago and helped me see that I, too, have a creative call.

A books that encouraged me along the way:
Creative Call: An Artist's Response to the Way of the Spirit by Janice Elsheimer

Looking ahead:
Tomorrow's chapter is on music, and begins discussion of the specific "Hidden Arts." More useful ideas and less philosophizing, I promise!

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