I got a “C”? In art?! Now I’ll never succeed in life!

I’m seeing double …er, quintuple.

Last Saturday my friend April and I went to an art class where the instructor has a painting in mind and guides the class with simple steps (read: dummy proof). Let’s be clear: Jordana is not an artist. I remember at the ripe old age of 9 receiving my first “C” ever in school, and it was in art. Now, you have to realize that I grew up in the generation of Gold Star achievers. Turning in a homework assignment warranted a round of applause, nonetheless actually understanding the material. So to receive a “C” was traumatizing enough for me to remember it 20 years later.

For the longest time, I was completely baffled about the grade. The project that I turned in was a hanging mobile of equipment representing various sports (i.e. a racquet for tennis, a basketball, a football, etc.) carved out of a Styrofoam product. I can’t say it was Picasso quality, but it was definitely something a parent would graciously hang on the refrigerator (except our fridge wasn’t magnetic…wait, now that I think of it, maybe that was just a ploy!). Keep in mind that my mom is super artistic, so she was probably shaking her head as she accepted the poorly crafted creation, wondering when the artistic gene would reappear in the family. Even so, I always thought it warranted a higher grade.

My mobile would’ve been so much better if my teacher just gave me some alcohol. Lesson learned.

However, I think I might finally understand why the teacher bestowed the “C” upon me. My theory is that giving a “B” is like saying, “You obviously know what you’re doing. You just need to work a little harder,” whereas a “C” is like saying, “Kid, I know you don’t get it now, but you should save yourself and your family a lot of heartache. This is going nowhere fast. In fact, you don’t even need to get an X-ray to confirm; you clearly don’t have an artistic bone in your body.”

And it’s true. I absolutely don’t. I can crochet because it requires counting loops. I can cross stitch because it requires counting threads of a needle. But when it comes to visual input, I can neither transfer what I see to paper or canvas, nor can I really highlight the nuance of color and light (without step by step instructions).

My friend Melissa is very artistic. She spent several years working in set design in L.A. before switching careers. When she and I are traveling or hiking together, she’ll always point out visual details in the landscape that I’ve inevitably missed. I just can’t seem to take it all in like she can.

Oh, let’s be real. I mostly wrote this post so I could show you my creation. Mom, can I hang my art on the fridge now?

So where am I going with all this? Well, this is all to serve as an explanation for my blogging style. I love to add pictures, but I am in no way an artist. That’s why I tend to pull pictures from online to emphasize a point instead of as a way to amaze and inspire. And I’ll scatter a few pictures from my various hikes, but if they’re in any way beautiful or majestic, it’s just a happy coincidence.

I guess this will also serve as a word of warning then. When I head out onto the A.T., I plan to continue to publish blog posts and to include photos along the way. And I do hereby solemnly swear that they will be more function than form. I just don’t have the artistic flare to pull off a breathtaking view. And if a picture happens to take your breath away, chances are that either I asked someone else to snap the shot or the scene is actually ten times more amazing than I’ve portrayed. Truth be told, I’m kind of OK with that as long as I get to see the real thing. And if you stick with me, I’ll do my best to wax poetic and make you wish that you were there (or maybe even grateful that you’re not).

Meandering on,



27 thoughts on “I got a “C”? In art?! Now I’ll never succeed in life!

  1. Whatever your photographic ability, you can certainly write! Look forward to A.T. pics – unusual ones always better than scenic, I think.
    This extract from my (hopefully) soon-to-be-published

    • Paul, I appreciate your comment. However, I’d rather read your original prose on your blog. Please keep feedback relevant to the topic at hand and the current discussion. Thanks for understanding!

  2. From one non-artist to another, being creative is more important than being artistic anyway. My cousin and brother got the drawing/painting genes. I got the mom jeans. Sorry that was bad. Creativity can be expressed in so many different ways. It’s what makes the world go round. Your writing is very creative! and interesting. Keep it up!

  3. I have had a career in basic sciences and engineering ( which is a bit different from Arts, I know, but there is convergence… ) and the only three grades I received was A, D or F. I guess educational system fails to appreciate the specific abilities a child has and tries to fir her/him to what it is looking for. Pathetic, if you ask me 🙂

    You are creative and no matter what anyone tells you, believe in that. I am quite certain, there is a lot the universe will come to know about you in years to come.
    Good luck and Godspeed 🙂

    • Oh, I’m familiar with the engineering grading system. In college, it was always obvious who was an engineering student by whose GPA was the lowest overall.

  4. I did a couple of years of art at secondary school and then did no art at all from age13 until I retired from being a science teacher four years ago. Now art (mine and other peoples’) is one of the main things in my life.
    People often tell me they can’t draw. I ask if they can write their name. When they admit they can, I tell them they can control a pencil enough to be able to draw, but they should remember that their signature when they were a child is not the same as it is now because they’ve been practising for most of their life. All they need to do is practise.

    • You know, I don’t think (at least at this point in my life) that I have enough interest in art to heed that advice, but I will say I’m starting to realize it applies to writing as well. I never thought I’d be able to keep up writing like this on a daily basis…I guess it really is practice, practice, practice.

  5. Hi Jordana! You can use any of my photos if you think they’d fit. And I wouldn’t worry about that C. I believe I have an artistic bone somewhere in my body but, based on my college GPA (Fine Arts major), I probably should’ve been an Engineer. 🙂 Good luck out on the trail!

  6. I absolutely loved this post! It had me crack up the whole way through. It reminded me of when I was in eighth grade and I actually dropped out of art and picked a different elective because I was so bad at it. And by the way, I like your picture. Much better than I could ever do. I probably would have been the one to copy what you were doing because I thought it looked good, and I would have gotten a D. haha. I look forward to reading more of your posts! Best Wishes!

    • 1) It’s kind of like why I took Art Appreciation in high school. I was required to take a fine arts class to graduate but couldn’t stand the thought of picking up a paint brush.

      2) Thank you! Finally someone that complimented my art! I was totally pandering for a compliment with this post (the insecure 9 year old in me), and all day long I’ve been getting condolences and assurances that I am creative in other ways. : P

  7. Hmmm. “C” means average. The basic grade ( a smile, but no standing ovation.)
    Like school grades actually mean anything.
    Don’t feel bad, in 7th grade I was told I had no talent and to never take art again. (and I didn’t for a bit).
    Creativity usually works best when it just happens and you don’t fret over “is it good enough” (the insecure brain really kills creativity)
    – now go create with joy. You’re perfect.

  8. Pingback: Good thing I braved the weather. More REI Exaltations! « My Meandering Trail

  9. Pingback: Only you can prevent forest fires or why I shouldn’t play with matches. « My Meandering Trail

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