I Think You Can!

I grew up watching my mother, who happens to be Terry Holliday,  create beautiful works of art.  Look at her work at Watercolors by Terry to see how talented she is.

I remember one painting in particular from my childhood.  It was of my brother, my cousin, and myself  playing on the beach in Corpus Christi.  It was outstanding!  It now hangs in the Museum of the Big Bend.  I don’t know many people who can say that they are a subject of a piece of art in a museum.

My mom did not always know she was an artist.  She was not painting masterpieces in elementary school.  In fact one of her favorite stories is how she entered a watercolor in a 4-H contest and received 2nd place.  That is not bad until she explains that she was the only one entered in that class.

Growing up as I watched her sketch and paint, I simply thought “I can’t do that.  It’s too hard.  I don’t have any artistic ability whatsoever.”  Most people don’t need critics; they can psych themselves out without any help from anyone else.

My daughter is very interested in becoming an artist.  She loves to paint and draw.  She likes to design jewelry and sew.  All these avenues allow her to be creative.  But as her mother, I felt the need to inspire her to do more art.  How?  By doing art myself.

For the first time in my life, I truly tried to draw and paint.  Was it easy?  No, I had to fight the voice in my head.  I had to fight negativity.  Like the little engine that could, I repeated, “I think I can,” over and over.

The end result was a colored pencil painting of some cannas in my front flower bed.  I actually impressed myself.  From there I did another colored pencil painting of a plumeria flower for my mother.  Talk about pressure.  Giving a work of art to an accomplished artist.  I am brave.

Again, I was impressed with the end result.  Then I decided to try my hand at watercolor.  I had taken a beautiful photograph of the Statue of Liberty and wanted to try to artistically portray her.  I really like the monochromatic look of the Lady Liberty.  Now, I have tackled a portrait of my husband in watercolor.

Each time I see improvement in my work.  Each time I realize how much more I have to learn.  But “I think I can!”  still repeats in my head.  It is trying to drown out the self-doubt and fears associated with putting yourself out there with your art.  I never realized how vulnerable artists felt before.

Here is my art work in order as I completed them.  I hope that you too can see the improvement in my work.

Cannas by Lara DeHaven

Plumeria by Lara DeHaven

Lady Liberty by Lara DeHaven

A Father in Uniform by Lara DeHaven

I love the Pablo Picasso quote, “Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist when he grows up.”  Even though I don’t think it quite fits me, I agree with the principle.  I never considered myself an artist growing up around artists, art, and gallery showcases.  However, I do believe that every person has an artist in them waiting to grow.  It cannot grow until you at least try.

Try to complete a work of art this week.  Seven days should give you plenty of time.  Work in any medium, but try.  When the negative comments are trying to drown out, “I think I can!”  Imagine me yelling at the top of my lungs, “I think you can!  I think you can!  I think you can!”

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