In the fifth grade I was given an art assignment to draw any picture I wanted for a calendar project. At the time I, like most eleven year old girls, was fascinated with unicorns and drew a spectacular scene involving one.
When I showed it to the teacher the next day, she told me to stand in front of the class so that they could see what a cheat looked like. She went on to say that I must have traced it all because I had no talent whatsoever. She told me that I was wicked, a liar and could never, ever do any good artwork. She ripped up my picture in front of the class.
For the next seventeen years, that day would affect me. I would always believe that other people were artists, not I.
After a few years of being in a high level, corporate position, I knew that pantsuits and meetings weren’t my passion. I wanted to do something else, but didn’t know what to do. I wanted to find my heart, my passion.
With great, great fear, I purchased a small watercolour set for $5 (I didn’t want to spend a lot, too scary to invest!) and for the first time in seventeen years, I attempted to create. I sat down, let go and painted how I felt. The result was this:
Afterwards, I sat in shock. Shock that not only had I painted, but that my fifth grade teacher was wrong. I could do something.
I posted that image on my web site later on and to my surprise, people started to ask to buy it. I hesitated. I wasn’t an artist. I wasn’t someone who could sell artwork. I wasn’t real. I kept saying no.
After awhile of inquries I asked myself, who is to say who is a “real” artist or not? Who is to say who can or cannot sell artwork? If someone loves it, if they find value in it, who am I to make excuses and reasons why they shouldn’t? The nerve of me.
So, I made a limited set of prints to sell and a year later, I have sold almost every single one. This has amazed me. It makes me smile. It makes me forget about that fifth grade teacher.
I think everyone of us has something we want to do, to be, but have held back because of someone saying we couldn’t. I say, prove to them, to yourself you can. Because if I can sell artwork after failing art 3 times, anything is possible.