How To Be An Artist*

My friend is an elementary school teacher. She invited me in to her 1st grade class to give a lesson about art. The entire school (except 4th grade.grr)  is doing a study block on Great Masters of Art.  I had nearly free reign (no nudity or gore, these people are 6).

It was pretty hard to decide what to do, but I settled on an activity where I gave directions and they followed the steps and we’d see how alike or different they turned out.

After that I gave a short talk about some important things you can do to be an artist. I drew up some pictures to go along with it.

Here they are:


Ask questions.

Look at stuff. Figure things out.

Take things apart. Put things together.

Don’t forget the other side, the back, the top, underneath.



Be brave.

You don’t have to be superhero brave, just regular brave.

Someone might tell you that they don’t like your artwork because “you did it wrong.” DSCN4619

Maybe they think that the sun in your drawing shouldn’t be red.

But, art is mostly about your ideas and your imagination,

so you get to make up your own rules about what you put in it.

So be a little brave and tell them,


“I appreciate your opinion, but I like my sun red and I’m going to keep it that way.”


Be passionate.

Play. Dance. Sing.


(So you can improve at doing the things you love doing.)

Try new things.


Fill up your toolbox.

Take lessons.

Go to school.


Try to fill up your brain’s toolbox

so that you have lots of things in your imagination

to use in your art

and in your life.


The most important thing you can do to be an artist is to be you.

Robots don’t make very good artists,

because they can’t make decisions

and show their feelings in new and exciting ways.

As one of my favorite artists, Dr. Seuss, says:

“Today you are you,

that is truer than true.

There is no one alive

who is youer than you”.



*These are also good tips on how to be a human.

I am not fat. (Viewer discretion advised)

When I talk about my ADD I try to be careful to make the distinction that I have it, not that I AM it.  I’ve blogged about it before.  Someone posted on facebook recently a sentence that, after it had a little time to sink in, really made my stop and think. What they posted was:

Fine, I have fat, not I am fat.

At first I dismissed it a little. Yes, of course, that makes sense. So? But it refused to give up as easily as that and niggled around in my brain, tapping at neurons until I paid more attention to it. Right. Okay. Yes. It’s kind of obvious once you think about it, isn’t it? I have fat. It does not define me. As much as our thin obsessed society would like me to think otherwise, I am not fat. I have fat. I have fat on my body. Some of which, maybe even most, I’d like to take off of my body. I am working at doing so. But in the meantime I am resolved to love my body for the beauty that it holds now.


I have fat. That little word has no bearing on myself as a person. It has nothing to do with my heart, my soul, my sexiness, my womanliness, my abilities as a mother, as a spouse, or as an artist.


I think that our media and society has fetishized thinness to point where people have trouble believing that any variation is attractive at all. It’s hard to envision yourself as beautiful when society holds up a picture of what beauty is and you don’t match it. We have swallowed the line heard so often; that we ARE fat and that being fat is a failing. The truth is that having fat is not a failing. Even if you want to lose weight or fitten up, it is possible to love yourself and your body now. In fact, you must. The way you talk to yourself colors the entirety of your experience. If you are hateful toward your body it won’t work with you it will work against you. You need to love your body into a new shape.


I wonder if it would be easier to turn down a “fatty” dessert if you could just say, “No, thanks. I already have enough fat.” As opposed to drawing it in to the fatness that you ARE because you can’t separate yourself from your fat. Hard to say. But it’s sure as hell worth a try.



A funny thing happened yesterday. I was on Pinterest and ended up spending 15 or 20 minutes looking a a couple of boards in promotion of Curvy women. After just that little amount of time had a big effect on my perception of my own body.



Just that small amount of time looking a big beautiful women let me see in me some of the things that I considered beautiful about them. Imagine if that could happen all of the time. If women of every beauty type across the broad spectrum were regularly represented in mainstream media. If your culture said that you were beautiful, too.



It is hard to imagine it.

What if our young men saw that it was okay to find more than one type of woman attractive? What if it was not considered a fetish to be attracted to bigger people? What if we allowed people to love who they love without labels?

What if I told you you’re beautiful?

What if you knew it already because you didn’t have to fight so hard against society’s cookie cutter idea of beauty?

What if I am not fat? What if I have fat?

What if it doesn’t really matter that much if I do?

Self Portrait Saturday: Brave

I think I mentioned a while ago that I was having my photographer friend, Erin take some photos of me. She did a fabulous job for me, and while the main impetus for the pictures was an art project I’m working on, she took some great photos that  turned out even better than I’d expected.

So, in the  interest of my journey toward self acceptance and confidence through self portrait, I am going to share them here.






In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that some of these have been photoshopped just the tiniest bit. And I only mention it because I am adamant that while photoshop is a wonderful tool, I think it is highly abused in the media. To the point that I think it’s criminal. But that is a rant for another day. So here is the original for the top one, which has the most changes. They are not over done and I love the pictures.