DON’T GIVE UP, for heaven’s sake!

I’ve been painting in Spain for the past month and wow, it just takes this girl a while to get her skills back. Know what I mean? That’s just how I roll. When I’ve been away from the brushes for a while, I require a certain amount of time to “get back into it”. Even more so when painting on location! Thank heavens I had done the 30-day drawing Challenge, which really helped me get my ‘eye’ ready. But painting can be another matter.

The first day is always full of anticipation…and consternation.

“Gee that subject is beautiful! Can I draw it? Can I paint it beautifully? Or am I going to muck it up”?

I feel like a big game hunter sitting down to site the wild beast in my scope. It’s sort of a ‘kill or be killed’ feeling. Maybe you’ve had that feeling yourself a time or two?

It’s the feeling that you sooooo want to paint something, but that little bit of doubt about how to go about it or, truth be told, even IF you CAN paint it. Yipe!

I have learned thru the years that I ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT ALLOW THESE THOUGHTS into my mind. If I start out thinking that way, all is already lost. The wild beast is headed my way with nostrils flaring and hoofs a flyin’. At all costs, I must keep my mind empty of any doubt about my own ability. I say again – AT ALL COSTS, I MUST KEEP MY MIND EMPTY OF ANY DOUBT ABOUT MY OWN ABILITY.

So, I look around for a beautiful something that really catches my eye. Then I try my best to just MAKE A START without thinking of anything except that lovely thing in front of me. I try to enjoy each little shape as it twists and turns along, joining the next shape. And what if one of those creepy doubting thoughts comes into my mind? I shove it OUT, quick as I can. For me, it’s simply a case of self-survival. Do I want to enjoy my day out in the wonderful countryside, drawing for all I’m worth? OR do I want an afternoon of gut-wrenching horror at every little mistake I make?!

That is the really cool thing about working in a travel journal format. It’s not meant to be perfect! You are trying to capture the ‘feeling’ of the place and have some fun. Maybe even experiment with new media. It’s your own private world where there are no mistakes. Only anticipation and enjoying the surroundings. Ahhhhh.

That being said, take a look at this photo.
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This is my first day sketch. Not my best, for sure. I could hear Beast Breathe in my ear while working on this one! It would’ve been really easy to not finish it. But I know a little secret about myself. If I keep going, no matter what, it frees me up to just play. Who cares, anyway? It’s just my journal. Keep going and LEARN. Each ‘not-so-good’ painting is a real chance to experiment and learn. To add to the library in my head of not only what TO do, but what NOT to do, which is every bit as important.

When I got back to my room, I did a second piece, trying to change some of what I didn’t like about the first one. This is still a quick, journal sketch but I like it better.

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Perseverance always pays off. If at first you don’t succeed and all of that. TRY. TRY. TRY. As artists we are constantly struggling with a very fierce enemy – OURSELVES. We are our own worst enemy. We have to get out of our own way and just have some fun, for heaven’s sake!

There you have it. To be an artist is not easy. As a matter of fact, it’s sometimes work. But heck, somebody’s got to do it. Why not us? We are truly the luckiest people in the entire world, don’t you think?

So, go ahead. Take on the most beautiful, complex subject in the world! If you get out of your own way and keep your mind focused on the subject in your sites, you’ll be fine.

You’re an artist, after all. Yes! You are. Don’t argue.

Be brave. Be sure of yourself, no matter what.

No beast slaying skills needed.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT OUR SURPRISE THAT ARRIVES ON JUNE 1st!
We will put the announcement on Facebook and it will also be on my website. If you are signed up for my newsletter, it will be delivered directly to your inbox. See you then and thanks so much for reading! (I’m excited about my announcement, can you tell)?

Kathie

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