Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Denise Mulligan

Creative late bloomers have an artist

living inside them as a seed.



I'm 49 years old and I'm a creative late bloomer. The reason it took me so long to become an artist is that I had to stop believing the lies that our society tells us. The lies that tell us "you're too young and not good enough." Later on we're told we've missed the boat."You're too old, you should have begun early in life." Creative late bloomers have an artist living inside them as a seed. This creativity lies dormant until you decide to pay attention and nurture it. If you do nothing it dies. I was an artist as a child and all through high school. After high school I abandoned art because I believed the lies.

Art can be tricky. There is a social myth that artists have an innate talent. This may be true to a certain extent. You may have an ability as a child or even just pick it up and are really good at it. However, it's not often publicized that this is rare. Art can be taught. You can get better with practice. For some reason the myth remains and we want to believe this. We want to believe we are special that we have an inner genius. I got caught up in comparisons and never gave myself a chance to explore, experiment and practice. Believing that I was pretty good at art since childhood, I assumed I should be able to pick up a brush and create master pieces. I wasn't thinking of all the great masters who were apprentices to other artists and spent years practicing to become masters themselves. I didn't practice very much so I never got very good.

After I married and had children, mothering two little boys became my life. I never took much time for myself. I had a few episodes of taking art classes but they were short lived. When the class finished I put away my paints.

I longed for a time when I could relax and feel like an individual again. I moved further and further away from who I truly was. Shoving my dreams in a drawer didn't make them go away. My lack of creating art festered inside of me making me angry and depressed. I felt like a failure. Then, in September 2010 I started my own blog. Blogging was the key that unlocked my creativity. While blogging I I found an online mixed media art class. It was something that I could do while my kids were at school. It was easy in that you didn't have to draw or paint perfectly. Creating layers of paint was fun and the art came out really well. It was something I was proud of and it restored my self esteem. I became interested in reading art blogs as well. I used my blog as an online journal, expressing my feelings on the page. I got brave and started posting my art as well. I started making art on a daily basis. I found that my anger disappeared. I stopped comparing myself to others and enjoyed the process. I now experiment in all kinds of art making. I allow myself to learn and make mistakes. I allow myself to practice art.

Oil painting has become my passion. I balance my life of being a wife and mother with oil painting . I work part-time so when I'm not working and the kids are in school, I paint. Or I paint at night in the living room with my family while they watch television. When I'm not painting, I'm writing blog posts or taking photographs. I'm living my dream, I'm who I was meant to be...an artist.


Whether you paint, write, bake, or are an entrepreneur you are creative and can consider yourself an artist. Creatives are people who make something from nothing. Creatives are the innovators in our world that invent, explore, beautify and make our world a better place. It's never too late, nurture the seed, become a creative late bloomer.



25 comments:

  1. That is so true about the myths. I was a middle school art teacher for 12 years and tried consciously to obliterate that myth with my students! Creativity is innate and can be cultivated!

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    1. Great to hear that there are art teachers that encourage students to keep practicing and let their inner artist out.
      Thanks for your comment Erin.
      Denise

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  2. Hi Teresa,
    Thank you for featuring me with all of the other lovely creative people on your blog. It is truly an honor and I'm so happy and excited about this feature. You are a lovely person to pass along your passion and loving kindness to the world.
    You did quite a beautiful job on this post, I'm "over the moon" happy with it.
    Thanks again,
    XO
    Denise

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    1. Thanks so much Corrine! Good to see you here.

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  4. Such a good post featuring our dear Harvest Moon girl! Denise is awesome and kind and passionate...and a GREAT artist!

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    1. Awe, thank you so much Lisa. It's so nice to see my blog friends here.

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  5. Having to overcome the myths we are taught is one of the greatest challenges to believing that we are indeed artists. Your story illustrates that so well. And it's a wonderful story, full of promise and inspiration for us all!

    So happy to meet you, Denise! Welcome to the "vase" of late bloomers!

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    1. Hi Deborah,
      Thanks for the welcome and your lovely comments. So nice to be a part of the creative late bloomers.

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  6. What a great story and thanks for helping to break that myth! I think it really helps to have a deep well to draw creative inspiration from, and the older we get...the more we have to share...lovely work!

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    1. Thanks for commenting Stacie. We really do have to practice to get good at anything in life. We also have to give ourselves permission to have creative fun.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your story! Art helps me process my emotions too. Now that I have embraces the artist in me there is no going back!

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    1. Absolutely Carolyn! No Return...keep on creating! Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. Welcome Denise, it's wonderful having you here. I love this "Creative let bloomers have an artist living inside them as a seed". Beautiful artwork.

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    1. Thank you for the kind welcome and comments Suzanne!

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  9. The title of your blog attracted me as another late bloomer. I went to art school at the age of 41 and then to uni to do my MA in Art and Design at 53. I am currently exhibiting mixed media paintings locally, and have just completed a wearable art piece (it's a Kiwi thing, I live in New Zealand), for a show in two weeks. I'll be firing my kiln again next week, and have a sculpture ready for a "Trash to art" show coming up soon. I had a heart attack a few months ago - there's no time to waste!

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    1. Oh my goodness, I'm glad you recovered from your heart attack!a Wow, you are an inspiration to me. Going for a MA at 53 takes courage,but you were listening to a cry from your soul. There's no stopping the creativity once it has been released! Good luck to you...stay well.

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  10. I always inspired by these wonderful stories! Thank you for sharing Denise...we are all awesome late bloomers!

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    1. Hi Julie, thanks for responding...and yes we are awesome!

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  11. This is wonderful, Denni! And a big thank you to you, Teresa, for this wonderful blog. Through Denni, I've found you, and I'm truly loving your blog. Although I've been playing with creative stuff since I was a kid, I didn't allow myself to fully bloom until much, much, much later in life - so I, too, am a late bloomer (and I love what you wrote, Julie - about us all being awesome late bloomers. That truly made me smile today). Thanks so much for this, Denni and Teresa - very inspiring, and very uplifting.

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    1. Thank you June for coming by and commenting, so nice to have my friends and new friends support. Heck yeah, we're awesome, you can't stop someone once they find their passion.

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  12. Love your story Denise! And you are so right--we often believe that in order to create art--and put it out there for others to see--that we have to be perfect, or a genius. We get impatient because we don't see that the practice and the experimentation are where some of the best stuff comes from! So proud of you, and happy you've found your creative voice!

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  13. Well said. I can relate to everything you have said. It is hard to give yourself permission to let that side of you free. It is also hard to overcome the way people are use to seeing you...sometimes people don't want to see you grow. Always fighting to rise above that.

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  14. I recently met recently whose daughter really struggled at school with dyslexia - when I asked the mum what her daughter was doing at college she told me 'hairdressing -but she doesn't enjoy it" It turns out the daughter only excelled in art at school but the mother told her she'd never get a decent job 'doing art' ... I find it so sad that the daughter is ready to bloom but is not encouraged in the only subject she enjoyed - I hope one day she will find her creative voice and prove her mum wrong!

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    1. Sorry typo!...... " I recently met a woman whose daughter..." !!

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