Finding My Medium

A long journey to becoming an artist.

Anna Burgess Yang

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I have always felt that I have an “artistic soul” but never had a way to express myself. I am terrible at drawing, have done a handful of abysmal paintings at social “paint and pour” events (accompanied by wines) and even tried collages with pictures ripped out of the physical copies of National Geographic that I received once per month. Nothing was satisfying.

My kids have no fear when it comes to art, and often in the afternoons on weekends we will sit around the kitchen table, with paints scattered around. They will create something freely while I stare at a paper, wanting to encourage their creativity while I felt no inspiration. The kids would leave random drawings around the house, sketched quickly into a lined notebook or piece of scrap paper, showing a monster, or invention, or map to buried treasure.

Writing was always my outlet, though sometimes I would feel that while I recount my feelings that I am often “telling the same story” and not creating anything new. I love visual expression, but had no way of harnessing it.

A few months ago, I tripped across Let’s Make Art and thought that my 7-year-old would enjoy watching instructional YouTube videos. I bought watercolor paints, and we would sit down on our lazy weekend afternoons and attempt to recreate a forest or a bird. He would sometimes exhale in frustration over the lack of control that comes with watercolor painting and I didn’t know what to do — I was experiencing the same.

Then in the Fall, a friend of mine came to visit, who is an artist. She sat down with us and attempted to offer guidance while we worked through a video tutorial of a brick wall with a blue door and some florals. Of course, attention was divided between the one of her and the four people in our family attempting to paint, so she followed up with me later and offered to do painting lessons with just me, so that perhaps I could learn enough tips to guide my kids and help them build confidence.

After the holidays, we set up a time for a Skype painting session. She told me to find a picture or photo of something to use as inspiration — and to print it out. I used a photo that I took of my older son, flying a red kite in the shape of a bird. The background is a huge green…

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Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur. Niche freelance writer. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. • https://start.annabyang.com/