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Saturday, March 1, 2014

A new outlet

Many years ago at a New England SCBWI conference, Laurie Halse Anderson was the keynote. She gave a piece of advice that has stuck with me since. I'm paraphrasing, but she said even if you're not writing, to be doing something creative or exposing yourself to something artistic. Whether it's visiting a museum or listening to music, reading or painting or knitting, it's important to always have the creative side of your mind open and learning.

My dad is an extremely talented artist. He does mostly colored pencil and pen and ink but he's tried out watercolors and oil pastels here and there. I've always admired his work and his ability to create something visual. I've also always told myself (and others) that I didn't receive his talent for art. The thing is, until last summer, I hadn't truly tried. I took a set of watercolors with me to a lake house where I'd told myself I wasn't going to write, but just try something new. I had no expectations. I told myself, yet again, I could never achieve the perfection of my dad's work. And I most certainly did not! But something else happened. Something more important. I HAD FUN. So much fun.

So over the next few months I worked some more here and there on other projects. I'm still learning and still having fun, but I think I'm also getting (slightly) better. Just like with writing, the more you do it, the better you get. Anyway, here are my watercolors, progressing from my lake house week to just a few days ago:

 So try something new every now and again. You just might surprise yourself. I definitely did!

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