I am not artistic. That is what I have always said, usually with a self-deprecating smile. Then I would murmur something about being unable to draw a straight line and mention that my stick figures are unrecognizable.
It is true, I can't draw and my crafting skills are abysmal. My children were outdoing me by the time they were three. You haven't learned humility until your toddler has kindly and tactfully praised your play-doh creation and you have resisted the urge to agree that yes, it is a doggy, when really you meant it to be a lion.
I am not artistic. That is what I have always said, until last week when I was showing my son the new photography book that had come in the mail. He looked at the book and at my laptop, open to the blog post I was writing and he said "You know, you are artistic, you just aren't crafty. Writing and photography are both artistic things." It sounds so basic. They are both artistic but I never thought of it that way.
I looked up the definition of artistic. It is "having or revealing natural creative skill." Some synonyms are creative, imaginative, inventive, expressive. Nowhere in that definition does it say you have to be able to make a recognizable lion out of play-doh in order to be artistic. I can be creative and expressive. I just can't draw. There are so many ways to be artistic and so many things we can use to create. The carpenter creates out of wood, the baker out of flour and butter, the storyteller uses words, the list goes on and on.
When you broaden the definition of artistic it becomes clear how many things fit that definition. The problem is, like so many things, we frequently yearn after the forms of art that don't come naturally to us. Because I can't draw or sing I discounted the fact that I like to work with words and that I am discovering an interest in photography. However, both of those are creative outlets, they are artistic. And nowhere in the definition of artistic does it say that you have to excel in order to be artistic. Of course there are artistic geniuses but most of us are just creative. Just creative. That is a contradiction, isn't it? There is nothing simple or negligible about any form or degree of creativity. We need to appreciate it for what it is. It is art, big or small.
I am not crafty. A table filled with glue sticks, drawing pencils, construction paper, and glitter brings me out in hives.
I am artistic. I am imaginative, expressive, and creative.
What a revelation.