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3 Artists Who Inspire, “I Can Do Art”

By Rachel Meeks

“If you want to be good at something, you must practice every day.” 

That’s the usual mantra about sports or piano or art, but I never thought I could practice something artistic every day, not with taking care of babies and laundry and doing my usual work.

I would tell you it’s important for my kids to have time to practice being artistic, to color and draw. We have an art table full of markers and large sheets of paper that come in a long roll from IKEA for $5. But for myself? I didn’t make time for my personal art, in the same way  that I have a hard time convincing myself to eat the fruit we have at home in the kitchen because I want to save it all for the kids.

Creativity for mothers is so easily turned into something on our to-do list. Sure, it’s great when our kids or other people do it, but as a busy mom, doing something creative can be substituted by a staged craft activity with minimal mess or a kit with pre-cut stickers that you apply.

We were born to create something. To spill words on paper or a screen. To make music and move and dance. To paint. To weave, or glue, or photograph, or build. Or perhaps even to create something intangible, like community.

Time spent making something is not wasted. What’s different about children is they have a freedom and willingness to try.

Here are 3 artists who inspire me to try something new and make art. I hope they inspire you, too.

Jean DuBuffet was a French artist who was interested in “Art Brut” meaning the raw art created by children and people not influenced by the professional art world. Some of his later paintings and sculptures have a primitive, childlike quality that makes it easier to not be so intimidated about making art.

I consider Anne Frank to be one of the most influential writers, but that wasn’t her goal when she started writing in her notebook. She had no idea how important her words would become, and how they would be read by millions of people worldwide. She simply wrote what she thought every day.

– Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

The documentary called Born into Brothels tells the story of how photographer Zana Briski traveled to the red light district of Calcutta. After meeting the children who lived there, she gave a few of the children cameras and started teaching them how to take pictures.

“Girl on roof”  ©Suchitra/Kids with Cameras

The photographs taken by the children (such as the one above) are featured throughout the film and show their home in the red light district from the intimate perspective of an insider, not a visitor. One child in the film says, “When I have a camera in my hands I feel happy. I feel like I am learning something…I can be someone.”

How to make time to do art that you love? What artist inspires you?

Photo source: iStockphoto/ Thinkstock

About the Author

Rachel Meeks

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to b...

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to be a parent when you’re not surrounded by a ton of stuff.)

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This is a good reminder for me to make time for art. I encourage the kids in their creativity but forget to do it myself. And I know I always feel better when I am creating things, whether it’s sewing, knitting, writing or even coloring my own picture with crayons!

My favorite painter is Van Gogh, but I’m also inspired by the collage style art by Eric Carle, which is far easier for me to imitate!


Oh and I must add that I am very inspired by Lucy Maud Montgomery, who was definitely an artist with words. Her descriptions of the beautiful landscapes on Prince Edward Island always make me long for a place full of trees, flowers, fields and shimmery lakes that I can lose myself in.

Isabel Kallman

i don’t make art. but i’m inspired by art.

i have been loving the photos taken by Helen Levitt. she captured nyc at time that was quite magical. it was gritty and industrious. she was an important historian.