Hidden Art of Homemaking Book Club: Artsy Art

Photos in this post are my sister’s, Melanie Thompson, whose paintings are available on her website. I love her work, because she provides a way of seeing this amazing arid desert that we call home as beautiful, when it is despised by many as barren and ugly.

This post is part of Cindy’s Hidden Art of Homemaking Book Club for chapter 4 on painting, sculpting, sketching, and the like.

In this chapter Edith explains how someone with a talent for drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. should not tuck that talent away because of pressing practical concerns like a “real job.”

But, through the whole chapter, I felt forced to ask, “But what of those who have no talent?” She says we can all sketch on our daily to-do lists to personalize them and help them appear more compelling and attractive. I feel like my own such marks only make it appear even more like trash. I am more a “use a clean sheet of printer paper rather than the back of an envelope to make your list look attractive and compelling” than a “sketch a border around the list” person.

I am clutter-averse, and that includes doodling.

Not too long ago I was watching a video about how one’s doodling can give insight into one’s personality. As I listened and folded laundry I thought, “Hm. What do I draw when I doodle?” and I couldn’t really think of anything I’d doodled. How could I find out what my doodling said about my personality if I didn’t even doodle?! What would I doodle, if I doodled? Sometimes I practice my handwriting and making letters different ways in the margins. Is that doodling? I don’t absent-mindedly sketch or doodle.

Turns out, there was a personality category for people who don’t doodle, so maybe I’m not totally defective.

Certainly I encourage my children to draw; they need little prompting. I can see how it is a valuable expressive outlet. But, is it one I should take up now? Should I add it to my should do in my lifetime list, when I don’t really care to? Does this chapter only apply to those with talent or desire?

Then I recall a little pile I have in my craft area. A box of special pens. A box of special markers. A pad of special paper. Two books, of course.

An artistic outlet on my “someday” radar is calligraphy. I might not doodle, but I write. I might not be able to sketch, but I love words. And, even if I never get good enough to make anything worth hanging on a wall, an attempt would surely improve my day-to-day handwriting.

Yes, even simply improving my handwriting and taking time to make it neat (and maybe even attractive) rather than an uneven scrawl is a way to express creativity and beauty in the mundane.

My other posts on Hidden Art:

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  1. I was writing thank-you notes today and my handwriting was so rusty from disuse and I even made a smiley face sideways like it was on Facebook.
    So many of us are feeling the same way about the chapter and wondering about the graphic arts also.

    On the other hand, you must have good genes, your sister’s work is beautiful.

  2. Infrequent use definitely makes it harder; I try to copy a few verses out by hand during my Bible reading, and that helps. I also prefer to take long-hand notes for sermons and the like, but I’m in a hands-full season now. :)

    Now that I’ve finished, I can go ’round and read everyone else’s posts. I’m so glad there’s such a large group this time!

    My sister was inseparable from a clipboard (even in the car for 5-10 minute trips) for years. She spent every spare second drawing ever since she was six or seven. All that practice clearly paid off. :) I spent every spare second reading silly Christian romance novels, and have no such skill to show for it. :)

  3. Have you seen Journibles? Basically Bible copybooks, but an interesting way to write, learn, and practice penmanship.

    Glad to see your post … You’ve been quiet all week. Hope all is well!

  4. I love your sister’s artwork – I’ll have to bookmark her website. :) I remember trying my hand at calligraphy as a teen. I think I have a box of the special pens around – I’ll have to dig it out and see if they’re still usable.

  5. Mystie your sister is amazing! Wow!

    Caligraphy sounds like a good fit to me. I tried my hand at it when I was younger, and it was great fun. Another thing that is like it is to learn to letter–to draw various “fonts” (as we call them now). That is also fun for word people like us! :D

    1. my ONLY problem w/ calligraphy was that i was limited by perfectionism in those days… otherwise, i did enjoy it! and you can use it on all kinds of personalized things… wall art, handwritten letters, etc.

  6. You made me laugh when you said, “I am clutter-averse.” I am too and used to be more so than I am now. Just in recent years I have given myself permission to write all over my books and notes and things. Sometimes I look at it and have a twinge of not liking it and hoping I don’t regret it, but when ever I go back to a book or notes I like seeing what I was thinking.

  7. Aww! Thanks for sharing my work, Mystie! =) I think calligraphy is really beautiful and you should do it! I say cut the handwriting practice and bust out those pens, but then responsibility isn’t my forte. But there really is something special about creating beautiful, useless, purely decorative objects in any medium.

    The hard part is getting past the learning curve, hence all the “Make your own wall art in 10 minutes” stuff on pinterest. Taking up something like calligraphy would be daunting, especially since I don’t think either of us are the type to be interested in doing novice level work. =)

    1. Not interested in novice level work — I think you nailed it there. :) I know I don’t really have the time to invest in getting really good really fast, so it’s all still sitting there, waiting.

      And, since several of the supplies were gifted to me from you, perhaps now my public confession that I haven’t used them will increase my motivation. You didn’t waste a gift! :)

  8. Love your observations connected with The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer. That book remains a big encouragement/major marker in my life. Don’t put off calligraphy too long– your children need to see you doing it! “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” If they see you working at it and getting better, their creativity may be sparked AND they’ll see it is just a bit of talent and lots of practice!

      1. Methinks you are too utilitarian! But someday you may see the value of devoting time to your creative craft, and your children will be blessed in both direct and indirect ways– some of the super benefits of home education.

        Writing your blog and e-books is Hidden Art in an area you are good at. Show them it is ok to do stuff you are not yet good at and you’ll give them confidence to tackle whatever life throws at them!

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