2/21 days – Lesson learned

Groan – now she has us thinking. Tough one! Have I salvaged any useful tidbits worth sharing, do I forget and repeat mistakes or simply incorporate my discoveries semi-consciously?

Everyone in the group off to a great start right off the bat, wonderful advice, no pressure, right? It hasn’t been the most focused of months what with all the external stuff happening, so my head is in a bit of a muddle. And I have to find a suitable painting LOL.

Possible themes for this topic (yes I’m going to think in writing today):

  • A specific technique
  • Mistakes – how not to’s
  • Successes – how to’s
  • Fear and Resistance
  • Snazzy catchphrases
  • Is this when I wish I’d kept an actual diary? Is that a lesson in itself?
  • Just pick one already!

You can spend so much time thinking and choosing that you don’t actually get anywhere – because you want to be certain that your solution is PERFECT.

When I first became interested in painting, apart from always having a childhood love of crayons and making, I was living in a mindset of perfectionism. I believed that I either had a talent for something and should be able to do it brilliantly from day one, I was after all the smart kid on the block, or if I didn’t have the talent I might as well not even try because I would suck and that would be humiliating.

And that basically froze me to the spot. I tried to learn and I practiced a bit but after a few years and not much success in the business department of it all (because loving what I did was not enough), I gave up and tried to become a normal 9-5 type of person. Along the way I failed at that too and my desire for picturemaking came back stronger and stronger, although with the same old block.

What helped me was learning new things. Different things. In the meantime I had also learned that being a beginner isn’t uncool, it’s exciting and wonderful, and I wasn’t shy or critical at all about my yarn spinning and weaving, every result was beautiful and/or interesting, the worst mistakes made the greatest lessons and I didn’t count them as failures at all.

Somehow, since PAINting is linked to my old mindset, it’s taken me a while to get my steam up and retrain myself to consider it in the same playful, inquisitive and flowing manner as my newer crafts and hobbies. But I know now it’s essential for any kind of success, within, without, to lose the fear of ridicule. To keep making and doing and flaunting your flaws. The fear may never go away, but you can laugh in the face of it.

So today’s image should be something I’m ashamed to make public, to prove my point. And that thought led to the next: “But I don’t have anything that I’m embarrassed to show, even if I don’t like it.” Then I came up with the idea of digging out 30 year old drawings, surely they would carry heavy emotions of inhibition? But you know, looking at them now I don’t think they’re half bad for someone who was opposed to the concept of PRACTICE.  I had to search really hard to find something that was truly hopeless. Am I perhaps learning the lesson finally?

I also learned something else: in my memory I thought I took a long break from making art, but the fact is, I did a couple of croquis classes, I did paper marbling and other fun stuff with a friend, painted some murals in a youth project, veered off briefly in the direction of New Age art oil painting. Then I did 3D computer graphics for a couple of years while that was still in its infancy. I worked a while doing Flash animations (real little movies, not banner ads, getting paid too!). Had a complete burnout in 2011 and here I am, back at it and persisting.

So all of this confirms to me that I need to take my craving for image making seriously, very, whether it has Quality or not. Because it’s who I am and the only work that lights me up. I’ll be 51 this summer and I still can’t think of one job out there in the bustling world that I would truly enjoy and be nourished by.

Bunch of old stuff from ca. 1990 – drawing is what scares me most of all, so I rather overloaded on that, just to spite myself.

21 days in my artworld challenge with Tara Leaver

#21daysinmyartworld on Instagram

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