I keep bumping into people who, for whatever reason, aren’t feeling particularly fulfilled, but are so wary about trying something new or exploring something because either they ‘won’t get it right’, ‘they’ll never be the world’s best at it’ or it would just be perceived as ‘playing around’ by their partners. They love their lives, they love their kids, they love their husbands, they love their work (whether it’s a ‘proper job’ or a ‘stay at home Mum’) – it’s not that. They just really want to try something new, something they feel would be a total luxury to explore but feel it would either be pointless, or just selfish I suppose.
I’m a very curious person and genuinely interested in so many things. I just can’t resist having a go at stuff. I get so much out of seeing how I get on with things. I enjoy the process. Luckily there’s something in me that means I don’t care if it doesn’t work out!
I grew up with a very low self-esteem – I’m someone who seems to achieve more (and gain more confidence) if I’m ‘the best of a bad bunch’ rather than dangling below the bottom of a pile of ‘great people’. Some people respond really well to the competition and will rise out of the depths because they feel they need to prove themselves. I’m just not built that way.
I really struggled at school – everyone was a high flyer and I was the misfit. I wasn’t allowed to pursue art because I was so rubbish at it, I struggled at languages (and spent my latin lessons conjuring up various practical jokes and learning to write with my left hand), I drank part of my Chemistry O’level practical exam by mistake and I somehow glued my biology exam paper together with the glucose solution we had to make.
Secondary school really was NOT my forté.
So, to miss out years of my (obviously) riveting life history, my husband and I bought a house with naked walls. We had nothing to hang on them so off we trotted to the ‘Affordable Art Fair’. Unfortunately for us, we really wanted BIG pictures….and they really weren’t affordable at all!
As a stopgap I decided to go to the art shop and buy some canvasses and acrylics (for speed. I do love a quick result). I drove home with a particularly large canvas bouncing around on the top of my car and whizzed home eager to start my new hobby. I decided I’d paint them white with a blue line across them or something, for that all contemporary (and surely impossible to mess up?) feel….
But then I made a mistake… the line smudged, plus I hated the shade of blue I’d ended up with…and so I set about repairing it, covering up my mistakes and making it look as if it was what I’d planned all along.
I was quite shocked with the results because I’d always believed I was hopeless at any form of art. They’re not to everyone’s liking and Grayson Perry won’t be begging me for one, but they’re not a total embarrassment.
Here are a few of what I ended up with….
My paintings have never turned out as I’ve intended. I stand there with my brush in hand, the kitchen counters and the floor covered in tubes of paint and off I go – only to find I simply can’t create what’s in my mind. I’m getting used to it now!
I’m definitely no expert in anything but I have fun. I think sometimes we’re so worried about not being able to achieve the end result that we daren’t even start.
I would so love people to just not worry if things aren’t perfect…that’s not a reason not to try and you never know – you may end up with something you didn’t expect.
Emily has a magical secret… she works for Santa at The International Elf Service. She is also a Registered Osteopath and a Mum to three children, including a wonderful little boy who has Down’s syndrome.
All paintings reproduced on this page were painted by Emily Beckloff from The International Elf Service.
Top photo courtesy of unsplash.com