Last week we spoke about creativity, and how we are, every one of us, creative beings. I was truly overwhelmed by the amazing response to our post, and loved talking to so many of you over on our social platforms about your views on creativity. What a beautiful community we have here, in our little corner of the World Wide Web.
I had the great honour of talking to the beautiful Babette Marie who, among other things, creates beautiful mixed-media artwork. Having followed her YouTube channel and Instagram Feed for some time now, I was thrilled when she agreed to share a little bit about herself, and her views on creativity. So, it is without further hesitation that I introduce you to the inspiring woman behind her art: Babette, over to you!
If someone had asked me just two-years ago about my creative process as an artist, I would have looked at them like they had two heads! Me? Creative? An artist? You jest. I would have even wondered if they were actually poking fun at my lack of creativity. That is how insecure I was about anything that I ever did that may have been considered something “arty”.
I am the youngest of six children, and if any of you come from a big family you’ll be familiar with the separation of traits. Some of us looked like our mom, some looked like our dad; ‘You have your father’s brains’; ‘You can make anything just like your Mom!’; ‘She’s punctual, just like her Dad’… etc., We don’t mean to put people in boxes, but, even I am guilty of it myself. For example, I think of my oldest son as a more creative soul than my younger. It seems to be a natural human instinct to put people in boxes that we feel describe them; separating their strengths from what we perceive to be their weaknesses. A sort of pro / con list for want of a better description. The problem with putting people in boxes is that they sometimes don’t have the strength to step outside of them. And that, that is a loss for everyone. How many beautiful things aren’t created just because so many of us are scared to step out of our comfort zone?
In my opinion, creativity is not a preconceived trait. You aren’t born creative in the same way as we are born with brown eyes, or blonde hair. But, we all have the capacity and potential to be creative, and we are all, each and every one of us, creative.
I think that the only difference between those of us who are considered creative and those of us who think we can’t even draw a stick figure, is that “creatives” have tapped into that part of their soul. And, if they were lucky, they may have tapped into it at a very young age. They may have been born to two creative souls, or may have been fortunate enough to have been taught by teachers who understood the importance of creative expression as much as the importance of academics. But, for those of us who were put in the “non-creative” box for the majority of our lives, there is hope! It took me over 40 years to realise this, but, I can assure you that there is.
At home, I grew up hearing: “Patricia is an amazing artist.”My sister could paint anything that she looked at in just about any medium that she tried. The rest of us paled in comparison. I don’t think that our parents meant to make us feel “less than” in their praise of my sister. I think that we made ourselves feel less than because of our own insecurities. While my parents praised Patricia, I heard: “You couldn’t draw your way out of a cardboard box if your life depended on it”, so, I didn’t try. In elementary school, we had a colouring contest. All of our colouring pages were hung on the wall at school. I remember hearing several girls making fun of my colouring because I had painted Micky Mouses’ pants purple instead of black. They were making fun of my picture because they thought that I didn’t know what colour Micky Mouses’ pants were. I knew they were “supposed” to be black, but, I wanted to colour them purple. I stepped outside of the box, and I was ridiculed for it. So, I ripped my colouring off the wall, tore it into pieces and went home in tears. It’s funny, the things that stick with you. I didn’t colour for years. Moving on to Grade 9; I was 14-years old, and decided to take Art as one of my electives. I failed. My teacher told me that I had no talent and that I should instead focus on what I was good at, like Math (as an aside, I am an accountant today.) There may have been more instances in my life, but these are the three defining ones that set me on the path of believing that I was one of the “non-creative” souls.I couldn’t tell you the exact moment when my attitude changed. I don’t really think that there was an “Aha!” moment for me. It happened over time. Several years ago, I started journaling again. It was a time of huge change for me: I had just married; we were adjusting to being a family. My husband was adjusting to being a Step-Dad and my kids were adjusting to a new sheriff in town. And I was, therefore, the monkey in the middle trying to keep everyone happy. I had also taken a year off of work, and I was floundering. My journal became my sanity. And, before I go off onto a completely different topic (talking about my journals tends to do that!), the point I think I am trying to make is that I took some time, me time. I believe that in order to increase and tap into your Creative Soul, you need to have intentional downtime. You cannot possibly create anything if you live your life at warp speed from sun up to sun down.
Babette, who is an artist and accountant, journals, creates mixed-media art, and also creates and sells these darling ‘Monkey Fists’, too!
I know that some of us struggle with the concept of downtime. We feel (made to feel?) that it is a waste of time. But, not all downtime is a waste. Vegging consistently in front of the TV or YouTube? Yep, that can be a waste. Not judging here- I binge watch a lot, too. What I mean by intentional downtime is setting time aside to step out of your routine. When you step out of your normal pattern, your thought processes change and great ideas start flowing. Make Creative Intentional Downtime a part of your daily habit. Watch videos (not all day- remember we aren’t looking to put you into a vegetative state here!), browse through art online, visit a gallery or museum. Allow yourself to be inspired by others. If you can afford it, take a class.
The next most important thing is to not let yourself finally break out of the “non-creative” box only to put yourself into another box. And, by that I mean there are many, many different types of Artists. See that? I went from Creative Soul to Artist. Why? Because they are the same as me. If you create something, you are an Artist. So, don’t let yourself finally have the confidence to create only to then be afraid to call yourself an artist. And, don’t ever apologise for what you create. I hear so often (myself included): “I’m not an Artist, I just…” You don’t JUST anything! You created this. You created something from nothing! Be proud of yourself. Will it be perfect? Probably not. We are our own worst critics. But, don’t strive for perfect. Perfect is overrated. Strive to be better than you were the day before. Because this is the true meaning of success.
My last piece of advice?
“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt.
Don’t compare yourself to others and always find fault with yourself. You will always come up short when you are judging yourself. Be kind to yourself. Compare yourself to yourself. Are you improving? If you can answer “Yes” to that, consider it a truly great day.
So, lovelies, go out and be creative! Every day! Put on some brave shoes, step out of your comfort zone and prove yourself wrong. Every day, every single day, is an opportunity to add beauty to the world. And, beauty comes in many, many different forms. Trust your family and friends. Love them enough to believe in their love and faith in you. Don’t hide your hopes and dreams, and creative endeavours: share them. That is the most liberating feeling in the world.
I thank you all for reading. And, if I have inspired just one person to go out and create something, I will call today a success.Make it with Meraki!
I honestly don’t think I could have said it better if I tried, Babette. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, memories and advice with us. I encourage you all to head over and say hi to Babette: she really is a truly inspirational lady.
And now it’s over to you. What do you think creativity is? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below; we love hearing from you!
Until next time, friends,
Caitie and, of course, Soda xxx