drawing with tate 02

Life after art

Back when I was about four or so, I loved to draw. I distinctly remember asking my mom to draw pictures with me one afternoon, so we sat in my room at the bite-sized table and chairs, the sunlight striking diagonally through the window and onto my bed. And we drew.

My mom drew a simple picture of a field of grass with an apple tree and a sun, and I copied her. She drew the bed of grass horizontally across her paper, so I did the same on my own. I waited until she was done with the brown crayon, and then I drew my own tree trunk, placed on the left-hand side of the paper, just like her. I remember feeling a bit bummed that her apples looked more like real apples than mine, so I lowered myself closer to my paper so that I could focus. I wanted my apples to be as good as hers.

This is one of those flash memories, where I’m sure the drawing event took about ten minutes, but from my kid perspective, it lasted all day. It was a drawing day.

I took the prerequisite art class in elementary school, just like everyone else, and it was a class I looked forward to all week in my early years, but not so much as I got older. From my perspective, I didn’t have a “natural talent” for art, so it felt like too much an effort to get my toothpick sculpture to really look like the Eiffel Tower. I’d rather read. That was my forte.

You will be creating the rest of your life. You might as well do it on purpose. -Matt Appling

I left elementary school, and I don’t think I’ve taken another art class since. But I always loved to create—still do love to create (and I love to soak up the blessings of others’ creations as well). I find inherent satisfaction in the rhythm of sewing, in writing, and in decorating our home. There’s something soul tempering about an afternoon spent creating…just because. Life moves slower, I can better think, and I’m just not so crotchety afterwards.

matt applingMatt Appling is an elementary art teacher, and he regularly witnesses the gradual shift inevitable in many kids, starting from five-year-olds unencumbered by fear of rejection or lack of skill, to sixth graders who rush through art projects so they can proclaim, “I’m done!” and move on to something else.

Matt, like Picasso, believes that all of us are born artists, but that the challenge is to stay an artist as an adult. And his new book, Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room, makes a strong case of this truth, reminding adults that deep down inside, we are all, indeed, artists. We were all made to create. And it’s not too late to find and reclaim the long-lost artist that lives deep within.

Life After Art

With chapters that discuss stuff like the challenge to stay an artist as an adult, how our entire society suffers from an epidemic of lost creativity, the beauty of constraints, and that failure is an option—even a necessity—to becoming creative beings once again, Life After Art is a gem. Matt also tells comical stories about his students, and the corresponding sweet truths he’s learned from these young people. I think about this book hours after I set it down.

Somewhere along the way, children learn that failure is something to be feared, rather than to be learned from and embraced. -Matt Appling

It’s a short read, but it’s packed with truth. It’s a shot in the arm to get out there and be the creative self you KNOW you are. You really are. Stop saying you’re not.

There is eternal value in creating; it shouldn’t be an afterthought to enjoy only once we pay the bills and do the dishes. Deep enjoyment of life requires being the creative self you were meant to be. Art class lasts through elementary school, and then we too often move on to More Important Things.

But there is life after art. We need to live it.

What will you create today: beauty or ugliness? -Matt Appling


Matt is giving away a copy of Life After Art to ten Simple Mom readers! Simply leave any comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win (I’d love to hear a memory from an art class you’ve taken). If you’re reading this via email, please click over to the post and leave a comment on the blog.

Oh, and head here to read chapter one for free.

This giveaway will end tomorrow night, Friday, July 19, and we’ll announce the winners soon after. I hope you win!

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I would love to be entered! I still remember a seal I painted in preschool that was pretty darn spectacular. Painting that picture helped me learn my right from my left (my easel was against a wall on the right side, and I had to leave it on my left to get more paint).

  2. My husband is a gifted visual artist. I am not, but I have always known that I am creative and I express myself creatively and tend to think outside the box. It freed me up once I realized being an artist wasn’t simply making art. It is a mindset. How we approach things throughout our day.

  3. This is not a memory of me creating art but one of my mother. My mom took art classes off and on when I was growing up, normally when I was really little a friend of hers would watch me but on this particular day the friend must have canceled and I a preschooler ended up going to clay sculpting class with her.I remember they gave me a lump of clay to play with on the floor and sat me on a tarp. I also clearly remember the lady who was modeling for them. She had a white sheet covering just the essentials, and her face was so kind, so pretty. My mom was making a model of her head, it stayed in our home for years and I thought about that day every time I looked at it..and remembered the day my mom share her art. My mom passed away years ago and one of my top things to grab from her home was that clay head. Everyone else in the family thinks it is creepy but I love it…that is the day my mom shared her art…a world all in its own.

  4. I remember drawing Garfield obsessively when I was about 9 or 10, and I did take art classes in high school, but by then my sister had taken art classes and she was “better than me,” so I thought I couldn’t do it and gave up. I recently water painted with my girls and it turned out pretty good. I have an almost-8YO who has declared she “Wants to be an artist” so i would appreciate any tips on how to encourage her not to lose her creativity!

  5. Johnna Morecraft says:

    I won the art award in high school but life jumped in and I haven’t picked up a brush since. I watch my children, 4 and 6, reckless abandon in their art projects. My 6 year old son wants to be either an artist or a police officer. On my bucket list, I want to take a pottery class.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I will definitely be reading this book, one way or another! I’m also interested in how a former artist turned mother, creates art WITH her children without having her children feel discouraged with their own abilities. Sigh.

    • Jennifer – I know exactly what you mean. Every project I do with the kiddos, I work through ahead of time so they have a visual goal in mind. But then there are the kids who look at my work and say, “Mine doesn’t look anything like yours, Mr A!” It can be a challenge to get them to accept that it’s okay – I have at least twenty years of practice on them. 🙂

      • Katherine says:

        My favorite was when we learned one point perspective and drew a road leading to a point on the horizon with a house off to the side. We had to follow the directions very carefully to get all the angles just right. It was really structured, which is not the norm for art, but it stuck with me all these years.

  7. I remember winning a bookmark art contest in 3rd grade and being thoroughly surprised. I have a budding artist on my hands and would live to know how to prevent anyone, including herself, from crushing her artistic spirit. Please let it be me!!

  8. This book seems to jive with everything I’m thinking and feeling as I journey through teaching students and mothering my young daughters. My favorite “art” memories are my first creations that I made with oil pastels and charcoals.

  9. Tracy Stone says:

    You’ve given me something to think about. As a mother of a nine-year-old, I need to keep that in mind and see what I can do to keep him interested in creating. It’ll help me to be more creative, too.

  10. Aw… We JUST moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand (10 days ago), where I am hoping to involve women in processing their stories through art! This books seems just what I need! 🙂 My daddy was an artist/art teacher, but I laid art aside long ago; now, when everything else is new, seems a good time to figure out what kind of artist I am inside! I am so eager to see what emerges… for myself – and for others!

  11. One of my college art classes was 3-D functional art. Our final project was to design a sled (College was in MN – lots of snow that winter!) I will always remember the group that created the Crazy-Boy, basically a Lazy-Boy recliner on Skis. How that was really “art”, I don’t know, but luckily no one died that day!

  12. I would love to have this book.

  13. I remember a couple things about art class in first grade. One is drawing or something with our very “cool” teacher who had Michael Jackson music playing in the background. And the last day of school I got to make a big paper fish that I painted. We hardly did messy painting projects and it was so fun to get into it and paint!
    I’ve had my eye on this book and am looking forward to reading it.

  14. I remember having almost the same exact experience as a child, wanting to copy my mom’s “perfect” picture and feeling disheartened in elementary school art class. I too choose my art in the world of books. But even since I’ve longed to be an artist–I think my stash of glue, paper, ribbons, stickers, markers, etc. etc. speaks to that desire. This book sounds like the perfect inspiration for an elementary school art class drop out like me!

  15. Adrienne says:

    I was so surprised when I open my reader up this morning and saw this! Matt Appling is my daughter’s art teacher at school. We feel really blessed to have him teaching art there. Now I really have to read this book!

    • Wow, the Internet is a small world. 🙂 Believe me, I am the one who is blessed to be a part of the WA family. Hope your family is having a wonderful summer!

  16. I should love to read this book. Somehow we stop enjoying the process and get too focused on the end result. I run a story time and craft session for preschoolers and their parents. I see so many parents who are so focused on the end results (having a cute craft to take home) that they completely squash their children’s creativity.

  17. This book has definitely been added to my wish list! I have loved creating ever since I was little, and now I want to do my best to make sure my son’s wild imagination never gets crushed. I’ve never excelled at the ‘traditional’ arts, but I am constantly sewing, woodworking, crocheting, or reworking thrift store finds, and I’ve found that I’m not truly happy unless I have a project in the works.

  18. My friend just left her job teaching middle school art for an elementary art position- I would love to win this book for her. My son loved art as a young child, but now is bothered by his inability to “get it right.” It is a challenge to find projects that to him don’t seem to require perfection.

  19. This is one of those books I need. Actually my whole household needs it. My husband was seriously discouraged in elementary school when it came to art. I’ve gently encouraged him to try again over the past 30 years, but as with so many things, sometimes it takes an outside voice for some truths to be heard.

  20. I’m entering.

    (But I’ve also put the book on my Amazon Wish List, already. You know. Just in case.)

  21. I took a watercolor class at the local art studio when I was 10 years old. We had people my age to high schoolers in that class. Learned about how to do perspective painting, and different water color techniques.

    And now I just finished having my 7 year old do a week long art adventure class, at the local art museum. Loved seeing what she came up with.

    One of our favorite things is to color with the new crayola twizler crayons. Love to read this book! Gaileee

  22. Kathleen says:

    I loved art all the way through high school but dropped doing it regularly in college. I still enjoy creating and drawing/painting but it’s hard to find the mental space with small children. However, one of my favorite things is getting lost in a painting when the hours fly by without realizing it.

  23. I loved creating all kinds of art when I was young and loved all my art classes and even took a couple in high school and college. The favorite thing I made was a vase made out of clay that I modeled after a vase we had at home – very challenging since it resembled a blooming flower. I still enjoy the creative process, but am stunted when I’m trying to create something that looks like something (especially in drawing or painting). I homeschool, so I am very intentional about art instruction and encouraging creativity. I also make sure our kids get some formal instruction in fine arts as well.

  24. I am very interested in how we have taken creativity out of school and replaced it with drill and kill. I would love to read this book.

  25. Hey, Tsh – my spam filter won’t let me go over to the link for chapter one. It has repeatedly claimed that it is a phishing attempt.

  26. I would love to read this book. I was blessed with a great art teacher in HS that left us create within the guidelines of the medium we were using. I have wished since then that my own children would be blessed with one like her. They are both very creative and my son has shown great talent since he was a little tyke, but art class and the teenage years have slowly eroded his love to draw.

  27. This messages resonates with me. Even in elementary school I struggled with anything “arty.” I did not draw well ever. And as an adult I have struggled with my “lack of creativity.” Maybe this book would help me see things differently.

  28. This sounds like an excellent book! I always loved art class, but typically felt like a failure at it. I would love to be able to encourage my children that it is more about the experience than the outcome.

  29. As a non-professional artist and stay at home mom, creating beauty has often been my lifeline to my adult self and to God. It is my act of worship, the way I interpret scripture, and how I feed my soul. This book has been on my to-read list for a while now.

  30. I am trying to explore my creative side

  31. Courtney says:

    This book sounds amazing! I am a photographer and artist so it gave me butterflies reading what a dear brother has learned! Thank you for posting this cute article for us 🙂 Here’s hoping for a shot to win a copy 🙂

  32. How cool that you posted this book recommendation today! This evening my friend and I are going to our first art class since school days to try to reignite that creativity that has been squelched by our need for control in our adult lives. This is the day we risk lines that don’t flow in the right direction and perspectives that look more like a child’s eye view than reality. I would love to read Matt’s book! It sounds like it just fits the situation in which I find myself today.

  33. My mother always tells me that I’ve been a perfectionist since birth, specially with art-related things. Once when I was about two she bought me coloring pencils and a notebook just for me to draw in. Needless to say, I was only scribbling, but I showed great interest in doing so, so she thought it was a good idea.
    We sat on the table, she let me scribble and then I asked her to draw me a person. She did, and then I tried to copy it. I do not remember it at all (though I do remember similar incidents all through my life), but she says I started crying, screaming and tossing the crayons in frustration because I couldn’t do it like her. She had to hide it all among the plants on the windowsill because every time I saw the notebook or the crayons I would start crying again. The frustration lasted for days!

    Maybe this book could help me overcome a bit that innate perfectionism? 😉

    • I spend a lot of time on perfectionism, because I have been a perfectionist since birth too. 🙂 It doesn’t do anything to help us accomplish great things – it only steals joy. I hope you are greatly encouraged by the book!

  34. Brenda Turner says:

    I would love to win this book! I have 4 grandchildren and want them
    to always allow their inner artist to shine.

  35. This looks like such an interesting book! I remember enjoying art classes in elementary school, but I didn’t take any classes after that. I do enjoy creative pursuits, and as a homeschool mom I am trying to give my kids as much background in art as possible.

  36. Sounds like I should read this for my daughters sake! She loves art and I need to know how to encourage her.

  37. Oh Art!! I have a room full of unfinished projects, projects done and hidden, (not good enough). I love art, it makes time stop for me. But have somehow lost the drive to dive into any project. I keep reorganizing, cleaning and saying ‘when’. I would love to read this and try to get my pilot light going again.

  38. I would love to read this book!

  39. Jennifer says:

    My son is five, and I already see him second-guessing his creative abilities. I hate that, and I would love to help him be confident and not bound by convention… and just CREATE. I would love to read this book to see if I could help him in some way.

  40. Lindsay K. says:

    I must read this book! As a kid, I spent hours cutting construction paper & making little sculptures. I took art classes for years, but lately my creativity has taken a back seat. I need some inspiration!

  41. Lisa Rae says:

    Interesting. I see myself as an artist that does not take the time to create art. I suppose that is also mostly about denying my creativity and failing to honor it with my time. I think I need to read this book.

  42. Caitlin Mallery says:

    Oh for a clearer perspective on art. With two little ones headed into their coloring years, I would love to face them without fear. I have two sisters who are exceptional artists and have always felt I couldn’t ever draw for anyone. But now my son wants to color, and I want to enjoy this stage with him. This book sounds like a great source of encouragement for the non-artistic parents and the artistic ones! Life is art, even if our drawing skills are meager.

  43. What a beautiful book! After spending too many years of my life as an accountant…I’m back to creating my life in a much more colorful, creative and intentional way…this book sounds perfect for the season of life that is unfolding for me now…

  44. I love the sound of this book! It is important for me to encourage art with my children, and it seems that whatever I want to encourage, I need to take up as well.

  45. I think what I loved about art class was the chance to personalize our projects. Sure, we’re all making collages, but mine has kittens! I don’t have much technical skill in drawing, but I haven’t lost my sense of play when doing art (or “crafts” if you prefer). It’s always fun to see if /this time/ I can create a great color combination or an object that brings a smile.

  46. This book sounds intriguing. I would love to win a copy! I have vague memories of art class, but I am just now finding my creative voice. Again, I guess 🙂

  47. This book sounds amazing! I’d love to win a copy!

  48. I have fond memories of spending time with my grandmother. She sewed her own clothes and made “crazy” quilts out of odds and ends fabrics…nothing went to waste. She saved seed catalogs and then made paste out of flour and water and I would cut up the catalogs and paste them onto paper. It was great fun! I have recently become interested in mixed media art journaling. The cutting and gluing and use of empherma reminds me of the afternoons spent with my grandmother. I feel better about myself if I find a way to be creative each day and I’m learning that in art there are no mistakes!

  49. Christine says:

    I, too, stopped creating art after grade school. And I can’t even put my finger on why. I began again just 2 years ago and have found such joy and reward from the process. I would love to read Matt’s thoughts on this! Thanks for the giveaway.

  50. Heather Myhr says:

    This sounds like a good book. I need to remember that I am creative even if I don’t think I am.

  51. Meagan S says:

    I have always loved art! My current form of creating is making cards to send to people who need a little encouraging. I am very interested in reading this book!

  52. I would love to win!

  53. The timing for me to find this is a God thing. Right now, like this very week, I’ve been trying to make time for creative pursuits- painting and sewing. As a child I identified myself as an artist, was recognized as having talent and encouraged by my mom. Then I started hearing my dad say I couldn’t be an artist and in slipped doubt about my really having talent. I did well in an 8th grade art class but feared failure in high school and opted to never take a class out of fear.
    Then came college where art was a requirement. I found I still was passionate about it and encouraged to pursue the major by instructors. So, in a moment of courage, I went for it. I earned my Bachelors in art, but concentrated in graphic design because it was “safer”. Not as much a chance to be rejected:) I found college art to be full of pretenous wanna-be’s who lacked talent but did not lack confidence. I have struggled to find my confidence for most of my 35yrs.
    I’ve been pulled back to it, though. I know I feel better when I create. I’ve finally begun to recognize my talent doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not about that, anymore. It’s about the simple process of creating. And the feeling I get when engaging in it. This book sounds like it was made for me, right where I am, right now.

  54. Kirsten V says:

    Oh, how I need to read this book! It’s one of my greatest desires as a mother that my kids (al under 4 right now) never lose the “I’m an artist!” confidence.

  55. As a former elementary school teacher, I would LOVE to read this book.

  56. Amy miller says:

    Having no art class but distinctly remembering in high school when I realized I was not as good at drawing as I had thought I was… Skip ahead to being a mom to 3 littles and knowing I love to create but not sure where to start- this book sounds like a kicking off point for me. Pick me, I am nervous but ready to jump back in!

  57. Pamela R says:

    I have never had a particular “gift” for art, however I have learned, as an adult, that art is more than just drawing or painting. I also carry with me the memory of a bust of an astronaut that I created in grade-school. It was amazing to sculpt something that ended up looking so much like a human. Thanks for the chance.

  58. Peter Tylus was the best artist in my grade in elementary school. His art was always wonderful to look at. I marveled at all his art work. Mine was so pitiful. I never got above a “C” in art, always my lowest mark. I am still amazing at people who can create “art”.
    I would love to read this book!

  59. Jermaine D. says:

    This book sounds great! I studied art through college but still catch myself forgetting to create each day.

  60. My younger children seem to be prematurely self conscious of their creations. They are regularly unhappy with the results of their creative efforts. I don’t think I have any standards that I expect them to attain. I display their work and admire it… Does this book have anything that will help with this problem? Well, I’m assuming it’s a problem -is it? Thanks!

    • You know, I’ve found that all kids present unique challenges. I don’t know how young your kids are, but I see a lot of kids start to go that way by second or third grade. Definitely by fourth or fifth. But every once in a while there’s a first grader or kindergartner who just seems stuck, so I can relate to your plight. I think you’ll find a lot of material that you can slowly share with your kids – it’s about cultivating a culture of creativity in your home, and hope for success. But also remember that “creativity” isn’t just about “art.” Maybe your kids are very creative in music, stories, games, or something else that they have not yet discovered.

  61. Would love to read this book!

  62. I was an Illustration major in college at AIP. Graduated and fell into Graphic Design. So, mainly computer and little hands on. I have a four year old daughter who is taking interest in art. Love drawing with her. She’s rekindled something that I haven’t really done in years. Excited to see if she pursues it more. Will definitely read this book.

  63. I would love this to spur my creative juices!

  64. From a family of artists, I know it is a concious act to let go of expectations and just create. This sounds like a fantastic read!

  65. Margaret says:

    This sounds really interesting. I just finished reading Ken Robinson’s “The Element” and as a music educator and performer, I’ve seen so many people’s musical love and interest disappear with an unkind word or due to the American Idol effect. It’s so hard to convince people that they are more than just consumers once they’ve been scarred or made their mind up because of some other factor.

  66. I would LOVE to win this book- as an art major in college who doesn’t have time to create much anymore, I’ve been really interested in this topic lately.

  67. I personally believe its all the copycat cookie crafts that the early childhood classrooms and parents give their kids. If kids would be allowed to use art so that they learn to think and develop initiative and can be really creative from a very young age and on, we would have a lot more creative people in the world today. Most kids have some sort of creativity even if they aren’t natural artists and many of us kill it off very young.

  68. This book sounds so interesting! I sew and knit quite a bit but of late I tell myself I don’t have time and sometimes I get impatient with the process.

    I love watching my kids create! So sincere and expressive. I have learned more from their drawings than their words sometimes.

  69. Kristin Thomas says:

    I would love to win a copy of this book. I have always loved being creative, but am not very good at it so it is not something that I do in life much. All of my kids are creative and I would like to help them continue to create uninhibited… unlike me.

  70. I remember going to art class as a youngster and just dreading having to come up with something to draw or paint or to magin what it would look like and seeing the other kids and thinking they are so much better than me why should I even try. But now I love to be creative and get excited when my kids have some project to do so I can help them. I am looking forward to reading this book!

  71. Melissa B says:

    I need this book and already put it on my Amazon wish list. I dropped out of art after 7th grade, where I earned my first and only C. It wasn’t about the grade, but my own lack of self-confidence and concern about criticism. The teacher seemed uninterested in those of us who were not naturals, so it seemed like a good idea at the time to just declare that I was not an artist and go back to reading. It worked for a long time; I went on to be a lawyer. But then I had kids, kids that wanted me to draw with them, to create. I am still challenged by my own inhibitions. They are now 8 and 6, and I want them to continue to be confidence and free, as well as work on freeing myself from a label I chose so many years ago.

  72. I miss “coloring” and doing artsy stuff! Seems like LIFE just gets in the way. I have a creating nature and have always loved arts, crafts, etc. Would love to win a copy of the book. I am intrigued!

  73. Oh I need this! That fear of failure thing always gets me.

  74. Very inspiring post, Tsh! Thank you!

    I used to draw and paint all the time when I was younger but I don’t do that anymore and I’ve realized that I lost some of the happiness that I get from creating with my hands. I was toying with the idea of taking an art class at the local college and now I think I’m and definitely going to enroll.

    Thank you!

  75. I’ve always thought of myself as Not the Artist, not creative or crafty. But over the last year or so I’ve realized this is a just not so. I have an inborn drive to create. Maybe not through pen and pencil or paint and brush but through the craft of writing and decorating my home. I guess I’m an artist after all. We all are.

  76. Melissa Webb says:

    Sounds like a really interesting book! Love to win it! I feel stuck not creating but don’t really think I have the time to even start something. Having a new baby has sapped me, lol!

  77. My story sounds so similar to yours, Tsh. I wasn’t an “artist” but as an adult, I definitely find joy when I get to create!

  78. This book sounds very interesting, and I know that my husband (who is a middle school art teacher) would love to read it! I have lots of great memories of doing art as a child. My mom created so many opportunities for me to explore my creativity. A few that stick out in my mind are when she taught me how to draw a horse using segmented circles and ovals to get all of the joints and body parts accurate, painting a HUGE rainbow with watercolors on a piece of paper that filled up the whole hallway, and letting me come up with special decorations for a framed photo of me and a good friend that had just passed away when I was eight. Art helped me grow, learn, and heal. Thanks, Mom!

  79. Christine N. says:

    Creating with my 3-year old granddaughter has lightened my world and sparked something lost along the way. I find myself slowing down, loosening the grip on perfection in many areas of my life, and getting caught up in purple hippos and lopsided popsicle stick houses. I haven’t felt this way in years! Looking forward to reading Matt’s book.

  80. As a Student Success Center Coordinator at a local community college, I embrace the statement, ” …failure is something to be feared….learned from…”. Often I have students come in to see me wanting “out of a class” because it was too hard, they got an “F” on the first test/paper. I will often quip that “you successfully know now what not to do on the test or what the faculty doesn’t want in the paper.” and we move on.

    My artistic abilities come in the form of cooking! I love to bake and create in the kitchen. I look forward to reading the rest of the book. Kind Regards, ~Bev

  81. This book will definitely be going on my amazon wish list (hoping it is available for the kindle).

  82. I’d want to read this book!

  83. AmyLeigh says:

    Before I read that this post had a giveaway, I thought, “I really need to buy this for my mom!” She is an interior designer, and every house she touches transforms into a lovely, lively home. She is a wonderful artist but is very doubtful of her talent. Win or not, I think I’ll snatch up a copy for her. 🙂

  84. Hmm. Less crotchety afterwards? That might just be the answer to what I’ve been wondering all day (why am I so crotchety today?) Thanks!

  85. I’m definitely one of those who prefer ‘black an white, right and wrong’ to the creativity of art, but I’m realizing the importance both of rediscovering the creativity in myself, and of not squelching that joy in my children. Would love to read this!

  86. I’d love to read this! As a child I loved to draw, but at some point I decided that I didn’t have that artistic talent & I gave up. I never had the opportunity to take an art class, even in grade school. My sons both took Art in high school and loved it and they are both good at it. Maybe I need a class to kick-start my creativity in that area… My creative pursuits are crocheting, gardening & crafting.

  87. Kathryn Bonnett says:

    (The email link doesn’t work, brought me to a 404 page error on your website). This looks like a fantastic book! i would love a copy and would probably share with my 15 year old… He didn’t fare well in elementary art class and as he registered for drama, to fulfill his hs art credit, he read the art classes out loud and said “yeah, we all know THAT’s not going to happen” Made me very sad.. (The elementary school has a new art teacher and his younger siblings seem to be faring better).

  88. I loved art in high school. But I wasn’t confident that what I created was any good. Then my art teacher invited me to join a few select students to go to an arts conference with other high schoolers. When he did this I saw that he valued my work and I had a new appreciation for my work.

  89. It would be great to win!

    I take art classes once a year. That mostly are calligraphy classes and are the best mama-time-out ever.

  90. I’d love to win this book. I gave up art too quickly as well. I remember winning 2nd place in some big art contest in 5th grade (It even had a cash prize!). I was so proud of myself and the painting I completed. The next year, I tried again. I didn’t win anything and to me it meant I was not an artist and I needed to give up. I was no longer proud of myself or that one painting and tossed it into a drawer where it got damages and I decided to later throw it away! Now as an adult, I find myself drawn back to art with photography. I hope I can help my children see there is more to enjoying art than winning a contest.

  91. Oh, this sounds like a wonderful book! As I head into my mid-twenties, I’ve been noticing so many changes in my perspective of the world– some good and some bad. I’ve always loved to be creative, but working a full-time job in front of a computer (albeit drafting, but not designing) makes you think you don’t have time to create. It does definitely makes me crave soul-freeing art. I can relate with your post and I’m excited to read this book!

  92. Tammy W. says:

    This sounds so much like my relationship with art. I always loved the creative process, but didn’t feel I was talented. Now I have a nine year old that loves Art. I want to keep that passion alive!

  93. Growing up I always felt I was a “good’ artist. I even got my first degree in Fine Art, but it has been years and years since I actually made anything. I know that creative process is missing in my life, and I need to return to it. This looks like a great book to get me going in the right direction.

  94. Thank you for this post and for writing this book! I have been talking to myself about this very thing lately… or always. As a recovering perfectionist who tries not to regret that I didn’t study some sort of visual art in college, I’m hoping to “study” creativity now and let go of the fear. I’ve loved reading everyone’s comments, and am reminiscing about my own elementary school experience with clay. We were supposed to sculpt a version of our pet, so I really tried to capture the way my cat looked when she was lounging around… not realizing that Snickers (my cat) was apparently unique in the way she lounged, making everyone doubt that my sculpture was “right”. Thank you to my beloved art teacher for believing me, or at least defending the abstract. 🙂

  95. I gifted this book to a friend last month & would love a copy of my own!

  96. This sounds like a great book. Art is so important to everyone, young and old.

  97. Gretchen Hoefer says:

    What an interesting book! I teach 5th grade, and am always at a loss for words when kids say to me that they aren’t artistic, that they can’t “do art”. My immediate response is to ask them to try things out, give the materials a chance, have fun and explore. I want to incorporate more opportunities for art in my classroom. They go to art class for an hour each week, but that seems like so little time. Art class is definitely one of their favorite special classes.

  98. This sounds like just what I need! I used to be very creative, but life has sucked it out of me in the last several years. I know it’s still in there somewhere, but I need help waking it up again.

  99. Margaret says:

    I’m a teacher, so I love to read other teachers’ books! This sounds great… I hope I win!

  100. I clearly remember the first time my daughter came home from school and told me her teacher told HER she should always colour within the lines. I was terribly annoyed, as this is just the kind of attitude that encourages kids to conform in their artistic abilities! I told her to colour whatever way she wanted, and I always make sure we have time for drawing at home.