By Rachael Lamb
When teaching middle school students art, I was amazed that 12 year olds were already losing their ability to be creative. They were paralyzed with fear of making a mistake. Already, their inherent ability to be creative was stifled, shut down- similar to adults. I told them that EVERYONE is creative and everyone CAN make art. It is a thinking problem- not a talent problem.
A lot of kids overheard parents saying they didn’t have a creative bone in their body- and the kids seemed to follow suit in this belief that they too must not be creative. Creativity is a learned skill. It can be honed to perform better, with practice- like drills in basketball, piano, or a golf swing- we can improve this side of our brain by changing our thinking. Older adults I have worked with have been amazed to see a transformation in their attitude when they learn to practice art because it is fun- rather than trying to copy someone else’s work that immediately puts them in a mode of comparison and expectation that leaves them feeling insecure.
We can all draw or paint- we just have to unlearn what we have been told about talent and creativity.
Rachael Lamb is a fine art painter and painting instructor in Vail, Arizona. www.rachaellamb.org