{The Portrait Diaries} Day 13: “Hello? This is the right side of your brain speaking!”

Day 13

Well it’s a horrible, wet & miserable day where I am! I hope it’s sunnier wherever you are!

Over lunch I was thinking about all the school children who will be having playtime indoors today! Some will be bored and absolutely hate it while others will relish these days.

Last summer, I taught photography at an amazing sports & arts summer camp in Pennsylvania. Some days there would be a sudden down pour so the kids would stay under the shelter of the art barn rather than move onto their next activity. As the majority of them loved art, they didn’t mind as it was a chance to get on with the current work of art they were creating or think up the next project they could work on.

These kids were affectionately known as “indoor kids,” an assumption, though not always entirely true, that anyone who loves art is not a big fan of physical activities or being outside. For the most part I found the kids would just find what they love and stick to it, which is not a bad idea really, though of course they were always encouraged to try new things.

Though I loved the outdoors I think I definitely grew up going through phases of being an indoor kid. Can I blame that on the unpredictable British weather? Maybe, but I don’t think I’d have it any other way. I used to love it when it rained and we weren’t allowed to go outside at playtimes. I loved art and doing anything creative so being stuck indoors was never a problem for me, it was a blessing.

At camp there were so many activities the children could do. There was no technology allowed so they couldn’t opt for playing their Nintendo or Xbox instead. I imagine this is one of the top reasons parents send their kids to camp, so they can really embrace this lifestyle for the duration of their stay. Kids have so much technology thrown at them in these modern times that they can forget the joy of simply creating something.

It is sad to think that some people never really get the chance or allow themselves the chance to be creative. Whenever some one tells me they can’t draw/paint or whatever else, I say…”Can’t or won’t?” Did you get on a bike and straight away know how to ride it? No. It’s about finding something that you enjoy and pursuing it. Over time the skills will come!

That creative part of your brain can influence so many other skills and aspects of who you are. If you try you never know what you might be capable of. More importantly, from being creative you learn to make mistakes and to try again, to problem solve and be innovative. If you can be willing to do things wrong you treble your chances of doing something amazingly right!

For these reasons among many others, it was such a privelege to be at camp and to be in the art department. To see children get really into something, to discover a new talent and to embrace their own creativity. I often wonder what amazing people they will one day grow up to be.

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook

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