To be creative means to be in love with life.
About two months ago I wrote a post about the strong women in my life, and how I believe that they all influenced me in some way to be the person I am today. Those women were my grandmother, my mom and my daughter — each of them inspiring in their own way.
When I saw the Food for Thought prompt — Inspiring Relatives — the first person who sprang to mind was my mom, and I do want to dedicate part of this post to her too. But there are other relatives I want to talk about too.
I come from a very creative family, and where as a child I thought it was only mom and my father, I now look around me and am amazed at how many creative people there are in my family.
I grew up with parents who were always making something. My father was a welder by profession, and made anything you can imagine – from changing an oil drum into a barbecue, or making it from scratch, or making security gates for our house or those of others. He’s 78 already, and still making those gates. But, he didn’t only weld things. My father was an artist too. He made some beautiful oil paintings, and later turned to making paintings with soldering iron on wood. I still have three of his works of art stored away with my own.
My mom sewed clothes, and some of my most beautiful dresses (with pockets!) were made by her. She sewed and she knitted, and there came a time when she knitted with a specific kind of yarn, ironed the pieces of ‘cloth’ she had knitted and then could cut it to sew clothes. Don’t even ask me the technique she used, but I do remember the beautiful clothes she made from it. Just like my father sold gates to others, my mom did the same with her knitting and sewing. And both of them did this besides working full-time too.
I still remember that one day when we sat talking about drawing and painting and my father made a remark that my mom can’t draw to save her life. What do you think? She grabbed a book, found a picture of a fox and the most beautiful pencil drawing perfectly resembling the photo.
I know my parents’ creativity definitely sparked and fed the creativity in both my brother and me.
As said above, I have so many creative people in my family. Four of my cousins — sisters — are all into making their own paintings, all with African themes, whether it’s with the bright colors and patterns of Ndebele homes, or a painting of a lion or a cheetah. Beautiful creations, some in acrylic, some in oil and others in water colors.
Then there are two other cousins — sisters too — of which one makes the most life-like baby dolls, which she paints herself, dresses (she makes the clothes) and then she sells them. She then makes molds of the babies she has created, and sells the molds and the silicon needed to create one’s own baby doll. Then there’s her younger sister.
When she was in the beginning of her twenties she had her own salon, and won the one award after the other with the hair creations she made. Over the years she has never stopped being creative, and some years ago she decided to try her hand at body painting. She has won several competitions over the years, and continues to be a big name in that world, as she teaches others, not only in her own country, but also internationally. She doesn’t only paint bodies, she also makes silicon masks and limbs and whatever is needed to enhance her creations. Through all of this she made such a name for her self, that she has even done the make-up and face masks of the white walkers in the Game of Throne series. She is and continues to be an inspiration for so many people, and every time I see one of her accomplishments, I feel pride surging through my veins.
If I look at the next generation — my children and those of my cousins — I see the creative streak too. There are photographers, digital artists (award winning), artists, website designers, makers of cards and clothes, make-up artists, and more.
Not too long ago I learned that my maternal grandfather, who passed away when I was 5, was an artist too. Apparently this creative streak has been with us for generations, and just like my parent’s generation inspired mine, my generation has inspired the next one, and they will inspire their children too.
Me & my art
During my life I have tried my hand at many creative things. I had art class in school (which I loved) and in my adult life I tried my hand at creating patterns for clothes using my own measurements, then making the clothes from those patterns (I created the pattern for my first wedding dress). I made wishing cards, created website, went through a phase of making charcoal drawings and then started at a club where I was coached in painting techniques, and made some paintings I am really proud of. I stopped because I chose to continue with writing, as that has always been my passion. I wonder if I would’ve been so into creating things had I not been inspired by my parents the way I was. Below is a selection of some of the paintings I have created in the period from 2010 to 2012.
Maybe one day, when I am old and grey and have written all the words I have in me, I might take up my paintbrush and paint some more!