My Story Part III: Feeding My Soul

I worked as a medical assistant for 10 years and at age 36, left to pursue a life as an artist. What a journey this continues to be.

My artwork was accepted into juried shows, the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and I’ve had solo exhibits. I have displayed at many art fairs. That’s kind of like going camping and taking all your artwork with you. I found the "job" of selling my artwork painful! Yet, I love making art.

I was accepted to the teaching roster of artists for the Kentucky Arts Council, to provide artist residences in Kentucky schools.

It was then, that I started to see the creative process rather than the final product, as the power behind the art. I worked with artists of all media…singers, musicians, writers, dancers, potters, painters, actors and storytellers. I became curious about why they were doing what they were doing. So I started asking. Why do you do what you do? The response was always the same, it was the process, the doing. It was never the performing, exhibiting or selling, but the creative process.

In the schools the children would be so excited to make art, and fearful of doing it wrong. What do I do next Mrs. Hille; well what do you think you should do? I understand that in math there is one right answer, 1 + 1 = 2. In art there is more than one right answer, 1 + 1 can be a tepee, a cross, or legs. In needing to be right, there wasn’t much room to be creative.

I began to see creativity as problem solving. If you want this to happen or something to look like that, try something, if it doesn’t work that’s okay, try something else. Sometimes you have a happy accident.

Well-meaning teachers on my arrival would often pull me aside and say, don’t bother with that child they never do anything...or they are just trouble. I was drawn to those kids. Other artists had this same experience and they gravitated to those children too.

Most often those were the kids that lit up and bloomed with art. One little boy shared, "I like art cause you can share something, but no one knows what it is." Art gives voice…

Another little fellow got in trouble and had to give up either recess or art class for the day. He proudly told me he chose to give up recess!

Elbert Hubbard said, “Art is not a thing, but a way”.

Art is of course a thing… a painting, a song, a story. But it also a way…a way to give voice to what lies within, a way to process emotions and experiences.

I came to believe that everyone could find a way to be creative. That is not to say that if singing is your thing…that you’ll be the next Sting, Etta James or Adele.

But you can sing, you can write, you can dance, you can be a storyteller. What you do doesn’t even have to be an art form. Do what you love, make it an art form, gardening, baking, cooking, sewing, teaching or throwing amazing parties. Being creative, expressive and uniquely you, finding comfort and expressing your personal joy.

I learned so much working with the other artists, from the teachers and the children. Yet, being in the classroom didn’t feel right for me, that message became louder and louder until one day I was literally standing in the middle of a class and heard from deep within me, you do not belong here.

It was time for me to take a deeper look at what fed my soul. Where do I belong? It’s not selling at fairs, not teaching in schools, yet I love to make art. I continued to make art. I loved helping others find their creative voice. I wanted to do more of that.

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