I really love art supply stores. In fact, I really love art supplies. Now, lets not confuse this with an actual love of art. Paintings, sculptures, pottery, I respect the skill involved in them. But they do not have the same gravitational pull as the supplies used to make them.
This is why on a given day I should not actually be allowed to step into an art store. Today, I managed to escape with no damage. But if I were feeling particularly down it would be typical for me to arrive home with an armload of supplies that would remain completely unused. For while I love art supplies, I am not very artistic. I have oil paints and acrylics, but I never know what to paint, and I had pastels for a while, but I threw them out because i can’t draw. Today it was all I could do to keep myself from buying a host of colored markers. What for? uhh… the pretty colors?
It could be that I am drawn inexorably to the pure colors on the packaging. Without shadow or light, or mixture, they are bright and brilliant. It is like being in a store full of rainbows! Inevitably when I bring home some of the colors they seem lonely and dim without the rest of their fellows.
There is also potential there as well. I think I could take these supplies, mosaic tiles, ceramic paint, watercolors, glitter, and turn them into amazing things.
But I never do. I bring home blank canvasess, and colors of paint I think I might need. And they sit in my office, propped up next to my shelf of blank notebooks. Pristine and beautiful.
Nothing I could ever write, or draw, or paint will have the same potential. More likely than not it will be half finished, uninspired and poorly executed.
It could be that fear of failure is limiting my creativity. Perhaps I’m so afraid that what I do wont be good enough that I’m afraid to try. That’s probably very likely. I’ve always felt that I was a better at appreciating other people’s creativity than creating myself. I can read other people’s books with both greed and speed, (though please not their poems), I can sing other people’s songs with minimal artistry and I can admire other people’s art.
I am ultimately, a consumer.