Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Painting is Easy - except when it's not

Having a sketchbook is a bit new to me. I've made art journals for many years, but they've really been focused mainly on collage, layering lovely little vintage paper-y bits, adding in rubber stamps, washi tape, more paper-y goodness - you get the idea. Sometimes I'll add a little doodle or some handwritten word or phrase.

But dedicating an entire book to sketching and painting and drawing is new territory for me. I made up this story in my mind years and years ago that I can't draw. And that was my truth for a very long time. There's a quote by Edgar Degas - "Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do."

Think about that.

For me, that is truth. I drew and painted and drew some more when I was young. Like crazy. But somewhere around middle school I became attached to perfection, or maybe just the idea that my drawings had to "look like something". It never occurred to me that I could draw things that weren't literal representations of what I saw.

And so I was stuck there, for so many, many years, in this myth that I can't draw.

Now I'm teaching myself all over again. Teaching isn't the right word. Allowing. Letting go of "I can't draw" isn't easy. Cutting and pasting and layering is my go-to, my comfort zone. I'm working hard to put a paintbrush or a marker or a pencil into my hand on a regular basis and allowing myself to just draw what I see - but in a way that is looser and more free (for me, anyway) than drawing a literal representation. It's my wonky take on flowers or a vase or whatever. It's not perfect, I'm not always happy with the results (rarely, in fact -working on that, too), but I'm doing it and trying not to judge.

I must admit, though, that I'm having quite a lot of fun because I have let go of the perfection part of it. I'm just drawing or painting and letting it be what it is. As I said, I don't like every sketch or painting I do, but there are some that elicit a "oh, that's fun!" or "yes, I like this one" from my harsh inner critic. And that's progress.

What are you re-learning?

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