I still have a hard time calling myself an "artist"-- I make art, yes, but the word "artist" just feels a little big to me-- a little kid tromping around in mom's shoes. So when I teach art and when I talk about making art, I fall back on something that has really been a blessing to me-- I have a four year old who loves to make art with Mom. I have a child who approaches every blank page and canvas with a sense of wonder and fearlessness that is contagious. And WE ALL USED TO MAKE ART THAT WAY. My son picks whatever colours make him happy on any given day, and glitter and glue and paper to cut and just goes at his project revelling in the process and the way the making of art works... He paints with a heavy hand simply because he loves the way the paint moves from the brush to the canvas (or paper). He loves to cut shapes from paper because he is "making something from something else" and when I try to steer his creativity, "Oh look, this is food pictures-- how about some of those?" he balks, because he has an idea in his head that he is getting on the page-- he is not making the "idea" I have. He stops when he has had enough. He likes to make art in stages... fifteen minutes or so, and then go do something else and come back to it later. He never feels that he has to "finish" in one sitting, or that taking out the art supplies to get busy is too much work. He enjoys just being and making art.
As I stood, talking and watching adults take a "designed" project and make it their own, I was reminded that making art, like writing, like loving, is about finding your groove-- listening to that little voice inside you that says "Oh... do that" and "time to stop." Your groove is not anyone else's... and you can learn to make art, write, love from a plethora of sources, but the place where the magic happens is where the art, the words, the love, are the representation of that voice in you. It's not about making the piece you were shown, it's about making the piece your own.