Pastel Fail

I’m really not enjoying the morning rush before school at the moment.  Today, I returned from my search for Christopher Robin’s grey socks to find Harry sitting in the corner at my little Repressed Creativity table with Mummy’s Special Oil Pastels spread all around him.  He had torn the wrapper off the one in his hand and held it in his two small fists.

“I snap it?”, he enquired animatedly, a mischievous glint in his eye.

“No!  Naughty!”, I exclaimed in horror.

“I snap it.”, the wretched imp asserted decisively and broke the pastel clean in half before tossing it on the table to join its fallen brothers.

I managed to get to Harry before he unwrapped his next victim, made a mess of disciplining him (it was mostly me shouting “how would you like me to break YOUR special toys??!” whilst Harry shook his head solemnly and reasoned “they’re MY toys, Mummy.”) and tried to salvage what was left of my lovely pastels.

As I matched aquamarine with aquamarine and crimson with crimson, it seemed a twelve-year-old version of myself manifested itself before my eyes.  There she stood, an awkward figure in her ill-fitting school uniform, clutching her A3 Spirax cartridge paper sketchbook and tin of 72 Derwent pencils to her chest.

“When was the last time you even USED those pastels?” she glowered at me,  “You haven’t even opened the box for months and months!  I think it’s been a YEAR!”

“Look, now’s really not a good time, Twelve-Year-Old Version Of Myself”, I muttered crossly.  And it wasn’t.  It was 8:25am and Matilda was still searching for her shoes, Christopher Robin’s reader still needed to be signed, Annie’s nappy was emitting a suspicious smell and Harry was off hunting for fresh mayhem.  But the sulky tween manifestation of my subconscious was insistent.

“Mrs Flannery said we were good at art.  She said it was in our soul

It was true.  I had a wonderful art teacher in Year Seven who had been kind and encouraging.  She had looked past my crippling shyness and made me feel like I was special.   And it was also true: I hadn’t used the pastels in at least a year.  My house seems full of empty sketchbooks, untouched paints and blank canvases that my twelve-year-old self would have itched to play with.

I could have argued that I didn’t have the time, that was my usual excuse, but I knew twelve-year-old Kate wouldn’t buy it.  The truth is, I’ve become terrified of Inner Critic.  Inner Critic is another version of myself (it’s very crowded to be me) who usually tells the Twelve Year Old to sit still and be quiet.  She also says things like “what if it turns out you’re no good at art?  Wouldn’t it be better not to try than to find out you’re only average?” and she sighs and sneers and rolls her eyes a lot.  It’s hard work keeping her happy.

Twelve-year-old Kate didn’t have an inner critic.  She just liked to play with colour.

Later, in that beautiful calm after Matilda and Christopher Robin were delivered safely to school, I formed a resolution.  Throughout the month of August, I will create some sort of art once a week, photograph it and post it on my blog.  And if Inner Critic has any comments to make, I’ll just say “quiet, you!”.  I’m a great admirer of proper-artist Ruby Hoppen, she is creating a portrait of her son every week this year.  It’s amazing to behold.  That’s where I got this idea.  But I won’t be doing portraits, and I’m only going for a month, but other than that…

If any other of you lovely bloggers would like to “play along”, please let me know in the comments and I’ll link to you.  You don’t have to be arty, that’s the whole point!  I think I’m going to call it “Art in August”.  Or maybe “Amateur Art in August”

artworkAnd, in celebration of this decision, here is my first piece.  It commemorates the destruction of my oil pastels and the miniature art festival this event inspired.

I call it “Shattered”.

Can’t wait till August!


46 thoughts on “Resolution

  1. journalofacomplexmind

    Laughed my head off at this one (even though I am pretty sure you didn’t find the tearing of your pastels funny in the moment).
    On a serious note, why wait til August??? Why not just start this week through August? Sounds like another procrastination in process. Oh well! you know best.

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      You are right, and I did consider starting now and continuing through August, but I figured this way it would be an established event and if anyone wanted to play along (*poke* *nudge*) they could. I don’t really know how to do a group event in blogworld, I don’t think I have enough followers to make it happen, but I’d love to try. Maybe it could become an annual event (Annual Amateur Art August?)!
      Thanks so much for your very lovely comment!

  2. mrskatystacy

    >> “I snap it.”, the wretched imp asserted decisively and broke the pastel clean in half before tossing it on the table to join its fallen brothers. <<

    you're good with words, I love this sentence. and the image of 'wretched imp' is perfect! all said with love, I know, which makes it all the funnier. once again, I love your posts of the daily happenings with babies. how many do you have? the four mentioned above? and how old are they all? I'm new here in your world 🙂

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      I have four, they are 8, 5, 3 and 15 months. I’ve given them different names on the blog as they have in real life (at Mr Knightley’s request). A lot of my friends have their first baby and are in awe of me having four, but in many ways four isn’t as hard as one (when that one is your first!) I feel like I’m finding my rhythm at long last. The trick is to have really low standards…

  3. Naturally Cathy

    I would love to join you in the Amateur Art in August project! I’m always looking for something new to do and if it means that I get to use up the craft and art supplies that have been relegated to clear plastic prisons, neatly labelled and abandoned beneath my guest bed, all the better! 🙂 And I agree, you have a happy talent with words.

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      I just made an audible cheering noise when I read that! Harry and Annie are giving me concerned looks! I’ve not done something like this before. Now when I do a AA in A post, I’ll write “playing along with The Plucky Parent” and link to your blog! I’m so excited!!!

      1. Naturally Cathy

        I am too! Just don’t expect great things – I cannot remember the last time that I did any piece of art, let alone a decent piece. When I make my post, I’ll be sure to link back to you too 🙂 Is it August yet??

        1. katelikestocreate Post author

          I will fall off my chair with excitement if you post stick figures drawn in pen on the back of a shopping docket! I think it’s important to keep this simple, otherwise we’ll get overwhelmed and not try…

  4. セレネ

    Oooh, I really like your drawing! The colours are so bright and happy!
    Making a drawing every week in August sounds like a very good idea. I haven’t drawn a lot either this year yet… I’ll join in 🙂

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Oh, that is so wonderful! What is an English name I can give your blog so that I can link to you? I had a peek at your blog just then and I’m really impressed at your multilingual skills!
      Thank you so much for your comment and for joining in! I can’t wait!

      1. セレネ

        It’s called “Kawaii kuni” (Cute country). It’s what my Japanese host mother once called The Netherlands when she saw it on a globe 🙂

          1. セレネ

            No, I was born in the Netherlands, lived in Japan for a while (a year, exchange during high school, and now I’m back in the Netherlands again 🙂

            1. katelikestocreate Post author

              A dear friend of mine spent a year in Japan on exchange in high school. That was fifteen years ago, but she still keeps in contact with her host sisters over Facebook and still has a special place for Japan in her heart. My brother has lived in Japan for the past two years, but he’s coming home in August 😀

  5. Kathleen Walter

    Oh I love this. It was so touching reading about the 12 year old you. I know exactly what you mean about piles of empty art note books….
    I just love reading your tales, you bring it all to life in such a delightful readable way.

  6. Allison Profeta

    I love this!! I’ve been taking a series of photographs of my sons G.I Joe action figures, whenever I find them laying around. It’s amazing the places moms find inspiration!

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      I thought I had already replied to you, but it looks like it didn’t work. Do you think you might like to join the art-along with photography as your medium? Even a one-off would be welcome!

      1. Allison Profeta

        I will definitely try to join in! How do I go about it? Do I send you a link when I’ve posted something? And is there an official title for this project? Are you sticking with “Art in August”? Yay! So excited!

        1. katelikestocreate Post author

          Huzzah! I’m in the middle of writing a sort of a launching post that introduces all of the bloggers who are joining in (there are six of us, including you and me). I think I’ll stick with “Art in August”, that’s a good name. I’ve not done any sort of group blog project before, but I think I will write “playing along with …” and then name and link my fellow bloggers. You could either do this, or link to my original post or the launching one I’m about to put up, so people can see what it’s all about.

          you can send me a link as well – but I will be haunting your blog just the same!

          Thank you so much for joining in! I feel so validated to know I’m not the only mum to crave creative expression.

          I think I might make this an annual event!

  7. Pingback: Working mama: Emily | redlipstickmama

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Funny – I saw your post before I saw this comment, so I’ve put a comment over there. You definitely qualify and I’ll be linking to you in August! Thank you so much!

  8. the mmmmm family

    I’ve just fallen into your blog this morning and love this post. You write so beautifully and I think your idea of an art linky is great. I used to be a graphic designer pre-mum but haven’t drawn in donkeys years probably for the same reasons as you, *terror*, I just can’t get past my own fear. This might just be the kick up the backside I need. Now, if only I could find my sketch pad and pens………….(mumbles to self whilst opening cupboards).

    1. katelikestocreate Post author

      Oooh! Oooh! OOOOOOHHH! Do it! Do it! This is what it’s supposed to be about. If you can’t find your sketch pads, join in with the kids’ crayons! We mums need to give ourselves permission to play and be creative without fear of judgement. It would be so great if you joined in too!

        1. katelikestocreate Post author

          Lol! I’m kinda nervous too, but I’m committed now! I reckon when it’s an “official” event we tend to give ourselves more permission. Start small – we’re not looking for masterpieces here!
          That last piece of advice was as much directed towards my own fidgeting self as it was to you!

  9. mathairfiona

    I can relate to having a little destructor running around! I want to join in, but am not sure I can keep up. I am due on the 9th! Would it be alright if I totally flaked out at some point?

  10. Pingback: Art in August – Descent: The Mind of the College Educated SAHM | Máthair Fiona

  11. Pingback: The Beautiful Mama Blog Award | the mmmmm family

  12. Pingback: Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! | Laptop on the Ironing Board

  13. Pingback: Art in August – Week 1 | Laptop on the Ironing Board

  14. Pingback: Art in August | Allison Road

  15. Pingback: Art in August: Hazelnut Calm | Máthair Fiona

  16. Pingback: Art in August: Thanks Be to Nature, Good Friends & Family | Máthair Fiona

  17. Pingback: Art in August – Week Three (ahem!) | Laptop on the Ironing Board

  18. Pingback: Art in August – A Wrap Up | Laptop on the Ironing Board

  19. Pingback: Crab Apple Fail. | Laptop on the Ironing Board

Tell me what you think (comments are like Christmas)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s