November 13, 2010


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
 Some words are just great by themselves, regardless of meaning.  This morning I was reminded of one of those words by reading my friend Kathy's status update:  enthusiasm. 

Just say the word yourself (or think it, if you're reading this at work or in the library) - EN-THOOOZY-AZUM.  Sounds as good drunk as it does sober.  Now say it over and over - it just sounds silly, doesn't it?

Actually, the whole status update was a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.”   Amen to that!  I mean, if you're going to do something, why not throw your whole being into it?

When you think about it, this idea can be applied to every aspect of your life - your job, your marriage or S.O. relationship (DEFINITELY!), your kids/extended family, your hobbies or passions - when you show excitement for anything, doesn't it make it more fun? 

I've realized in the past couple of years that I'm psyched about art.  I'd better be - it's my living!  But I've also realized that I love getting other people fired up about art and the creative process, especially those who wrongly think they're not creative.  BULL!  Every one of us is creative in some way, whether it be art, music, cooking, organization skills - if you have a skull with a working brain, you're creative.  When you pick out what color of clothes you're going to wear today, that's creative.  When you prefer one scent over another for your body wash or soap - that's creative.  Anything that gets you to think about the way you want to live - CREATIVE!

I can't tell you how many people I've run into at art exhibits that say they're not creative in the slightest - but they love art.  Okay, that's so wrong.  If you're an art appreciator, you can't NOT be creative.  Simple as that.  If you have ANY opinion whatsoever about why you like one artist over another, or one song over another, or what ingredient would taste better with another - YOU'RE CREATIVE!

Probably my favorite way to get people fired up is by having them make ATCs (artist trading cards) in my classes, or on Flickr, or wherever.  When faced with a blank card that's only 2.5" X 3.5", art seems a lot less daunting.  And when I tell them that there are no rules - that you can do whatever you want on your canvas, it seems to help loosen them up.  "Go ahead and pair that aquamarine with yellow!  Who cares??  It's your art, do what YOU want!" is my rallying cry.

Try going a whole day being excited about everything you do.  Seriously!  It may sound a bit Pollyanna, but I'll guarantee that even if it doesn't work, you'll at least get a laugh out of it, thinking to yourself, "Hooray!  I get to file these reports in alpha-numeric order!".  Hey, it might even get you thinking about how to file more creatively.  :D

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