The definition of amateur reads as ‘a person who engages in an art, science, study, or athletic activity as a pastime rather than as a profession‘, and it is a rather delightful term. It strikes a strong chord with me, as I quite enjoy a spot of amateur painting or photography, not that often I have to admit, and I play an instrument, although that is mostly for personal fun with friends. To be an amateur reminds me of how lucky I am in life, that, at the moment, I am free to do things as I want (relatively speaking, and in between job applications). Although I would be the first person to admit I do not spend enough of my time being creative, I feel a great kinship to those who can so freely express themselves so readily. Below is a photograph I took on a Sunday walk, and although it is not a great photograph, it has helped me to capture a lovely moment in time. Each time I see it I think I’d love to turn it into an impressionist style painting. Of course I can only see it in my minds eye as I do not have the technical skill to paint such a picture, nor the genuine talent.
However it is in ignoring that voice, and just in trying, that you have overcome the main hurdle in expressing yourself. And it is a joy, even if you are not happy with the end results. When I was young I had always admired the people who had tried to express themselves in various different media, be it in prose, painting, drama, music or photography. Leonardo, after all, was not just an artist but a scientist and a visionary. Of course he was a genius, but we should take heart in our own efforts of self expression, and try a diverse range in which to communicate to our fellow man. This can of course leak over into other aspects of your life. Throughout my academic work I had always tried to maintain a multi-disciplinary approach to my work, to incorporate not just archaeology but also geography, osteology, pathology, history, ethnography and earth sciences, when needed, to help and develop a fuller picture of our integration.
Expressing yourself can include other people, either helping to contribute to a single project or idea, or as an individual as part of a group or society. It can be the smallest thing, in which no one will ever see, or it can be a massive effort that many will see and experience. It doesn’t matter, what matters is that if you feel a urge to be creative, to do something about that feeling, then to go ahead and see what happens. As with most things in life, the more you practice the better you will become. Speaking of which, I think I will pick up that paintbrush and have a dabble in art again…
To finish, have a lovely song by Green jelly, a lovely comedic rock band.