Greenwich Free Library

June Newsletter

The 700's

Ask any group of small children, "Who here is an artist?" and nearly all of them will raise their hands. They'll create drawings that require lengthy tutorials to help the viewer identify the people, objects and ideas represented without ever thinking that there's anything wrong with their work. Pretty soon, though, they'll start questioning themselves until, by half way through elementary school, only the most obviously talented or unswervingly compelled will consider their creations worthy of display. By the end of high school, most will stop making any attempts at any artistic expression at all.


Lately, I have been talking with artists about art. Who is an artist and what value does making art bring to us? There has been no consensus on the first question but the second has brought a number of related answers: We all benefit from the type of concentration and close observation that working on a piece requires. It is useful to struggle to try and make our chosen medium do what we intend. The creative process opens us up to new ways of thinking and seeing that carry over into the rest of our lives.


As someone who fell into the "Not Good at Art" category very early, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed last year's Paint and Partake event. I'll confess that I wasn't even going to paint because I'm Not Good at Art but a last-minute cancellation left me standing in front of an empty canvas with no excuses left. Thanks to a great teacher, the wonderful camaraderie of the other painters and the relaxing magic of a nice glass of wine, I had an experience that left me determined to bring more art classes for adults to the library. Using the brushes, blending the colors and trying, with occasional success, to make the picture in front of me look like the picture in my head, was a real joy. One that should not be reserved for children. The painting from that night now hangs in my office. It ain't great art, but it is a reminder of how good it felt to engage in the process of creation.


I hope you all will take advantage of opportunities, whether here at the library or elsewhere, to try your hand at creating something this summer. I especially urge those who are really sure that they, too, are Not Good at Art to take the plunge. Your inner child and inner artist will both thank you.

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