What child enjoys solitude? Probably not many, and I can't say that I exactly enjoyed it, but the hours of solitude I experienced as a child led me to a vivid appreciation for 'reality' - a sort of heightened sense of wonder, a fascination with form, color, line, dimension and texture - all the elements necessary to mastery of the visual arts. My mother felt conflicted about art. She sent me for free art classes sponsored by the Philadelphia School system on Saturdays, but she literally drew the line at that. When I went to high school, things like 'art school' (sic) had to stop, (even when my work was being featured by my teachers). The nuns would not allow an 'academic track' student to take art, etc, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I continued to dabble in the subject, taking an art history class in my freshman year (and only year) of college, and learning a few things about how to 'see' as an artist: perspective, etcetera. I suppose, if I'd been a 'real artist' I would have felt compelled to create art anyway, and not just in the desultory way I went about it, everyone once in a while having a burst of expression, creating drawings for a calendar one year, 'illustrating' a 'novel' I'd written another year. (All of these things were thrown away by my mother, because my work included sexual themes among the other more intellectual themes - I was interested in history and archaeology at the time.)
But none of this is the point. What I would like to say is that the real impetus behind my drive towards art, whether visual art or literary art, was a kind of Love. I loved the forms, the colors, the lines, the textures, the surreal sense of the unreality of dimension. I wanted to express this love by re-creating what I saw. However, although I did indeed show early promise for being able to do that, I lacked the amount of practice necessary to achieve any kind of technical competence.
Instead, I find, when I look back over my life, that I have 'collected' examples of truth and beauty that satisfied my sense of artistic wonder. Many of those examples collected over the years have disappeared. At certain times, there was almost a glut of examples, so that I became lulled into thinking they'd always be there. Now it is nearly impossible to find some of those images, at least not without paying substantially. Interesting. However, I do still have some pictures, passages I've copied from books, books of photography, etcetera. I find it odd that I chose to collect rather than create, without really intending it consciously.
I understand some of the obstacles to my creativity. For a long time, I felt that I just didn't have the right. I didn't have the kind of background or education that others seemed to have, who seemed able to create at a level I could only aspire to. Then, it always seemed as if I were just going to be playing catch-up. Then, also, I channeled so much of my artistic, visionary impulse into prayer, spiritual reading, participation in the kind of imaginative spiritual groups that were popular in the 1970's. Soon, things got really serious, and the representative of the diocese suggested I attend theology school to have a career as a 'lay-minister' in the catholic church, and I began to think more seriously about a career in spirituality and 'healing.' I began to develop a different skill set.
So, yes, I can see the evolution of my life and how I diverged from the path of artistry to which I had been originally attracted. I'm wondering what my options are now, at this stage in my life (being sixty now).