Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mistakes, I've Made a Few. . . (Of Sketching and other Endeavours)

Because we're in temporary quarters for the summer, my tendency to orient towards goals of productivity is in danger of being seriously thwarted. I know that this can be a good thing. Slow down, smell roses, feel sunshine, dance like no one's watching, all those process-saturated moments. Let go. Let go.

But we are what we are, and fighting that can turn process into product as well, the goal this time being self-reform, ticking off boxes for Relax This Morning, Ten Minutes. . . .

I have, definitely, been slowing down, putting many projects on hold until we are once more in a home that will support them with space and organisation and ergonomics. To fill the time that's left to me each day, I've been running and cycling more (although doing less yoga, unfortunately, because I haven't yet sorted the reinforcements I like to keep my practice going -- regularity of private time in enough space to get on the mat at home and the comfort and challenge, both, of a studio that works for me). I've been reading more. I've been trying to blog more, although with mixed results admittedly.

I've also been happy with my continued commitment to a portable project I added last fall, that of language acquisition, and I'll chat a bit more about that in a short post very soon.

What I'm using this post for, though, is to lurch my way back into another activity that could be sustaining, that was, in fact, sustaining me in my need to make this time work for me (and yes, I know that insistence is fraught with problems, but indulge me, would you?). I'm talking about my very rocky pathway to get in touch with my "artistic" side. I put that word in quotations because it's so simplistic in this overused trope that I've tended to accept, since grade school, of those who simply are artistic (and in this use, the term often gestures clumsily at the visual arts) and then the rest of us who rely on stick figures if we're pushed to draw for a board game, but otherwise say we "can't draw or paint because we're not artistic." As if that magical ability were simply conferred at birth.

No doubt there are innate talents, but I discovered a few years ago (through a weekend workshop with my friend, a professional artist and teacher) that I could develop enough illustrative chops to make me happy. Since then, I've played with paints, even taking a watercolour course where I learned that a roomful of women, all more "artistic" than I, so much more accomplished with pencil and paintbrush, were almost as hesitant to claim the word for themselves but, inspiringly, had all made art-making as a process part of their daily lives.  Somehow, their occasional, even regular, frustrations with what they created on paper or canvas impelled them onward. They found joy in the process even when they weren't thrilled with the product.

That course ended just before winter last year, and then life went a bit sideways with the packing and the listing and the selling and the moving, but once we got settled here, I managed to start up a five-minutes-a-day sketching habit, which often stretched to ten or fifteen minutes, and which I took outdoors a few times, once even joining with a local Urban Sketchers Meet-Up.

The sketchbook, pencil,  eraser, and a few pens were easy enough to keep on the table in our small apartment, but I began to feel some pressure to work paints back into the mix. So one day -- July 9th, says my illustrated journal -- after I'd sketched some beets we'd brought home from the market, I looked at those jewel-coloured vegetables, their ruby globes below and rippling emerald foliage above, the strawberry-Twizzler stems yoking the two, the weird terminal decoration of those hairy rat-tail roots  . . . I looked at them and decided it was time to get my colours out. My tiny travelling paintbox doesn't take much room, but then I needed a glass of water and room to set out paintbrushes.  Artist's sprawl was underway, but Pater was very tolerant, and I mixed and played and slid reds and greens and blues onto the page, letting each section dry, coming back every so often to admire and to adjust and to check readiness for the next colour's application. . .

It was all going along quite swimmingly, in fact, and I was rather pleased with myself. The painting itself I have no illusions about. Even had I got around to adding some veining to the leaves, it lacks depth and vibrancy and I know I could benefit hugely from having a more experienced artist give me pointers. But these were recognisably beets, and I'd created that recognisability all by myself. My "artist" self had, and I was happy for/with her.




And then I flipped back to bask in more satisfaction, wanting to survey what I'd recorded over the past several weeks. . . .only to find that my paints had soaked through the preceding two pages, ruining the quickly sketched portrait of Nola I'd been pleased to make as we sat together with pencils in hand a few days earlier. ugly red blotches marring not only that page but insinuating their wet way through the journal. "Rookie move," I berated myself.  You should have remembered that the paper that comprises a Sketchbook won't stand up to much soaking. In fact, as I started flipping through the pages, I saw that I'd made a similar error last summer.

Which meant, as I returned to the damning and simplistic wisdom of grade school, that I truly wasn't "artistic" at all. Even though I've learned how foolish, how incomplete, how constraining that dictum was, how much it deserved to be questioned, it sent me right back to my side of the room. I packed the paintbox away, and somehow the pencil and Sketchbook were banished as well.  The tabletop was clear again.

For two whole weeks, it was clear, but enough is enough, right?

So Monday afternoon, I wrote this post, and I decided I would finish it with a commitment to getting my sketchbook out again, adding another page to my illustrated journal, re-establishing a five-minute sketch habit again, reclaiming a tiny patch of space for my "artistic" self. Pater and I had plans to cycle out to Burnaby Lake, a nature preserve about twenty kilometres from us, and I knew I'd be tired enough to make anti-sketching excuses by the time we got back. The solution, of course, was to bring the art materials along, and once Monday's post-writing was done, I packed the black-bound, coil-ringed book into my bike's jaunty neon-green wire basket next to a pencil case full of pencils, pens, eraser and sharpener.

I will admit that even with this commitment, I second-guessed myself at the site. Not only was there the inevitable self-consciousness about outdoor (public!) drawing, but I kept rejecting possible subjects as beyond my abilities. I tried sketching a pathway lined with trees but erased it in frustration at the difficulties of perspective and so many planes of foliage.  At that point, to be honest, I started to pack the whole kit-and-caboodle away, scolding myself that I should be happy enough with the cycling and with being outdoors -- why complicate the day by trying to do things I don't have the talent for.

But Pater intervened. Reminded me that I just had to find something and sit with it for five minutes. And I guess that gentle shove was all I needed. After all, five minutes? What else would I do with five minutes that was so important? And who would expect much from a five-minute sketch? Anything I got on the page would be held to a pretty relaxed standard, right?

I surrendered, then, to the five minutes, and I focused on the pair of song sparrows hanging out on the rail fence bordering the walking path. They flitted and preened and turned and sang and fanned tail feathers far too much for me to feel responsible for any accurate, recognisable representation. Instead, I watched them, soaked up their appearance, their behaviour, their movement, all the while my pencil moving as quickly as I could. At first, yes, I was trying to get a likeness, and yes, I was annoyed at the first switch of position, the head-turn that made me abandon my first attempt. But then I decided I could simply go with this, just get a series of bird-wisps on the page. I'm going to show you, but the images won't look like much, won't mean anything to you -- to me (and I remind myself that's who my journal is for) they recall not only the antics of my fine feathered friends, but also the temperature around me yesterday morning, a bit cooler where I stood in the shade of the woods than just a few feet away in summer sunshine. The images conjure the smell of the dank mud nearby where the lake is receding in the summer heat, the brighter notes of green leaves and blackberries ripening on the vine. I recall the various species of ducks we saw -- the ubiquitous mallards, of course, but also the rarer, delightfully painted wood ducks, shovellers -- the Canada geese, several long-billed dowitchers. And the sounds of those fowl, their clucks and quacks and splashes.

Because five minutes of sketching is not really about the product itself. Rather, it's about the process, not just the process of putting pencil lead on paper, but the process of observing in order to draw. Or rather, ideally I think, of just disappearing into observation and recording as being, one with breathing or something zen like that. . . . Whatever. Probably best not to analyse it too much at the moment. It's still rather delicate, rather tentative for me. I'm nowhere near suspending judgment as I'd like to be. But for five minutes yesterday, this was me. And the world. Together, on a page. . .
 You'll probably wonder about that mustard-coloured splotch -- another casualty of my clumsiness with materials a few weeks ago. I decided I'd use the page anyway, and just let the old mistake meet the renewed efforts.

 So that was yesterday's sketch. Today is another day, and I've made sure some sketching will happen by arranging a meet-up with a fellow sketcher. Motivation, but also a bit intimidating as she's an accomplished artist, and my inner editor -- far stronger a character than my inner wistful artist -- is sure to begin making comparisons quickly. I know, though, that she's also encouraging and very creative and open in her own art-making, so I'm going to do my best to trust to process. I'll let you know how it goes!

Meanwhile, since your comments on my recent post affirm the usefulness of questions in generating a conversation, let me ask you if you've ever let a childhood conviction that you aren't "artistic" dissuade you from putting pen or paintbrush to paper. Or, instead, how have you moved past doubts that you could learn to do something you've always wanted to do? Play a clarinet, knit a sweater, learn a language, grow a gardenia, throw a pot (not at someone, but in a ceramics studio!), ride a horse. . . . Just popped back to add another prompt for our conversation: have you any tips for how to make sure the new project continues, to keep the learning going in the face of discouragement and doubts? But the conversation doesn't have to begin or end with these questions, of course. All (but the nasty!) comments are welcome, and if you just want to leave a "hello" that's fine as well. . .

Thanks to Eleonore's comment, below, I've been reminded of Diane Athill's words, in her wonderful memoir, Instead of a Book, wherein she describes learning to paint, in her 80s. She refers to earlier generations who took the acquisition of basic drawing and painting skills for granted, not worrying over whether they were "artistic" or not. I quoted a paragraph or two here, if you're interested.

39 comments:

  1. As you know I made my own shaky attempts at "artistic endeavours" last winter. I also find self criticism the most frustrating and paralyzing element for me. Not because I don't think I'm artistic... but because everyone in my family remembers when they all thought I WAS..and are sooo glad that I'm following that path again...and I find I can't do half (or even a quarter) of what I used to be able to do so effortlessly when I was a kid. But I'm determined to not let my negative thoughts stop me. Which may or may not work in the end. And I keep telling myself that I'm learning a new skill, and my efforts are just practice. Which takes a whole lot of pressure off.
    I have't approached my "artist's nook" (ha!) that Stu and I created for me in our sun room for a few months. I decided that I would resurrect my efforts in the fall when I'm more likely to be able to establish some sort of routine. And now I find that my self-imposed hiatus is making me really want to get back at it. I remember reading once that Margaret Laurence said she didn't begin to write a novel until it was harder NOT to write that it was to just begin. Or something like that. So I'm hoping that I will build up a head of steam, so to speak, and by September be raring to go... pencil in hand. BTW love those beets. The layering of colour (is it black or dark blue) looks just right to me. And they look totally "beet-y."
    Now... let's not get into knitting talk... there I have totally failed to motivate myself. Although my half finished effort looks lovely and colourful in my open knitting basket. And serves as an aesthetic addition to my living room. Ha. Decorating with scarves..kind of.

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    1. I remember your post on this -- so fascinating to me that the early talent could be an impediment. . . I think your technique of letting the urge to draw or paint build is a clever one, especially as you do have that corner set up as a prompt so that you will get back to it. Sometimes, for me, even if there is an occasional itch to get back to some activity or other, the difficulty of getting set up, of finding materials, etc., means that I keep missing those windows.
      Thanks re the beets -- I layered in dark blue to darken. As for your scarf? In your basket in the living room -- just the perfectly imperfect touch of Wabi-sabi, right?

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  2. I used to think I was not "artistic" (and I still do in a way), but one day I came across Betty Edwards' "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" and it was quite a revelation. One summer, a few years ago, I attempted to follow the book step by step and even liked some of the results. Then the daily routine took over again... Maybe I can make a new start next year.
    These past weeks I tried to get the feeling of what it might be like not to have to go back to school. I managed to give half an hour every day to freshening up my French, finish a sweater, restring several necklaces that had broken over the last three years (I even designed a new one). But the deadline is approaching fast, it is not the real thing yet.
    I loved your description of sketching the sparrows, at the same time taking in all the sounds, sensations and sights of the moment. That is probably just what sketching is all about. A few generations ago everybody would take a sketchbook and pencils on a trip. In letters and diaries of grandparents, aunts and uncles I have come across drawings of buildings and landscapes from various countries. Possibly they were all much more "artistic" than I am, they certainly had much more practice.

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    1. I worked through some of that book one summer as well -- it was such a revelation what could be done by accessing and building skills from a different direction!
      It sounds to me as if you will be very ready to take wonderful advantage of your retirement with so many activities you've been yearning toward for quite a while -- something like what Sue describes, above. Something I deplored about full-time work in academe was how little room there was for (other) creative pursuits, the expectation that intellectual and creative efforts would all be funnelled into scholarship and teaching. . .
      So glad you like that description of the sketching, and yes, I think it was reading one of Diane Athill's memoirs that pushed me, finally, into taking that Illustrated Journal course. She speaks of the art training, taken for granted as part of a rounded education, that allowed earlier generations to record their travels in sketchbooks or on canvas. Thanks to your reminding me about this, I'm adding the link to the post above, if you're interested.

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  3. I took watercolour classes years ago and painted from an old photo of Whalsay in Shetland. I have always heard from Maman that we are not artistic or musical. That's her old Presbyterian thing because such things were "frivolities". As older, self-determined women, we need to give upon these pronouncements and to enjoy our attempts. It is time to let all the old self judgements go. I would really like to frame my painting of the Whalsay church as I painted it thirty years ago.

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    1. You MUST frame that painting -- Celebrate your "frivolity" ;-)
      Will you see the Whalsay church this next visit? I've just gone to have a look at it (marvellous how easily we can do that research now, isn't it?) Such stark beauty in that landscape. . .

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  4. I am not "athletic" and the #MeanInnerCritic voice is that of my mother, who opined, when I told her I wanted to take tennis lessons in high school, said "Well....you can if you want. But I don't think you'll be any good at it." In all honesty, I don't know that she actually said that (but I'm pretty sure she did).

    When the boy-child was old enough to pick up a racquet, he was frustrated. In one of my better parenting moves, I decided that I too had to play because I was going to set an example. After about a year of his improvement (but certainly not mine), I signed up for lessons.

    It was -- and some days continues to be -- a never-ending fight between me and my MIC, even when objectively I know that I have improved and am building competency. It is what Sue said above: it became harder NOT to play than to play. But it is also the ability to simply sit with the anxiety/fear of failure and ride it out.

    Gotta run, I'm playing tonight.

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    1. I love this comment, Kara -- thank you! "Not athletic" is another label I quickly accepted at about 8 or 9, thanks to a PhysEd teacher. It might be true in some ways, but I run and cycle and being active keeps me fit and healthy -- perhaps in better shape than some of my "athletic" classmates from back in the day.
      I love that you've taken on tennis -- a tough game that demands some disciplined practice (I took lessons with my husband a long time ago, but I didn't have your fortitude and I let my MIC boss me right off the court). What a great example you offer your son. We don't have to be great at something to enjoy it or to make it worth spending time at. (and sadly, no one ever says we should give up on cooking or cleaning because we're no good at it!). Brava you!

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    2. So funny that you think of yourself as "not athletic" -- you are a runner!

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    3. I know, Kara, and yet I always feel that's not athletic, requiring only one foot in front of another. . . ;-) I blame my grade school PhysEd teacher!
      I wrote something about it way back in this post (and before I ran a marathon two years later): http://materfamiliasknits.blogspot.ca/2012/09/running-from-my-inner-pyramid-girl.html

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  5. I am so glad you are doing this, and it's enlightening to me to read your notes on process. For what it's worth, the Inner Critic never goes away, we just learn to be better at telling her to take a back seat and be quiet! So...onward!

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    1. So true, Beth! And she can even be useful from time to time, as long as we make it very clear to her that her place is in the back seat and she's expected to stay quiet. Thank you!

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  6. I am a great fan of your sketches, and of the background and stories accompanying your sketches. My own intentions to sketch occasionally erupt into fruition for a time, and then return to dormancy. There is something so wonderfully Jane Austen-ish about taking one's sketchbook to the garden, or the river, or even further away and spending time attempting to capture a particular bit of beauty; it makes me feel as though I am somehow fulfilling an obligation to become a woman of accomplishment (or at least making efforts in that direction). I have resolved now to date them, as you do, in part because I have noticed that when I return to something I had despaired over a while ago, I often notice that it is really rather nice and I am led to conclude that the criticism I offer at first blush is not so very reliable after all.

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    1. Exactly, Marsha -- very 19th-century, and if you read Eleonore's comment above, and my response to her, you'll see us chatting about how these skills used to be commonplace with no labelling of whether they were or were not "artistic."
      You also make a very pertinent remark about returning to a once-denigrated effort. I find this too -- that going away and coming back again can improve a piece enormously. I'm also often pleased to view a photograph of what I've done which somehow appears much more appealing than the painting I thought I hated.
      Here's to our efforts at becoming women of accomplishment. I'd say the efforts are accomplishments in themselves, right?

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  7. You captured those beets and the spirits of the birds. This is a developing project for you. Nothing is easy. I threw those pots for years. I was never a natural or someone to make a living off it, but I enjoyed every turn of the wheel. Not so much the testing the new glazes.

    Though you are a novice with pencil and water colours, you're forgetting your skills with the camera. A different type of artistry.

    Kudos for that ride you and Pater took. Do you have bike paths? My husband refuses to ride on many streets in our small city because the vehicles are oblivious to cyclists.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Julie. Such a silly label to work around, isn't it, this notion of "being artistic"?
      Yes, Vancouver has made some grand strides in the last four or five years towards being a better bike city. There's still a way to go, of course, but we're able to do most of our rides on safe cycle paths. Otherwise, I'd be as reluctant as your husband.

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  8. All I can say is 'good for you for keeping at it' because I like those last little mustard-decorated sketches very much. I think I'd be happy to have created that page of little bird-moments.
    Do you think that women of our generation, in particular, believe that we have to excel at whatever we attempt? It's something that I've thought of for the last little while. I like the idea of trying something for the pleasure it gives and wonder if I could try to write just for the joy of it even if everyone said it was rubbish - or if I could learn to play an instrument for my own entertainment. It sounds to me like you are loving the doing as much as the accomplishment.

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    1. Can I tell you, just between us (and the blogverse! ;-) that I was surprisingly delighted with those page-flitting birds . . .
      I do wonder if it's partly generational -- I'm not sure if it's because we feel we have to excel, but I know that it was tough to carve out space to manage a career and raise a family, and working at leisure, perhaps, wasn't as natural a choice in any free time. And I come from some very practical people. . . but you've got me thinking now, and I'm thinking especially about my funny old grandpa's very "folk-popular" approach to music -- he played the bones (think "once too poor to play the spoons!"), the mouth organ, and a pretty decent Vaudeville-hall piano. . . But there wasn't much room for it until he finally stopped working, well into his 70s. . . I don't remember anyone painting or sketching, but there were many beautiful vegetable gardens and all my aunts could design and sew or knit their own clothes.

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  9. Maybe all our (mean) inner editor/critics could be sent on a long voyage together and give us the rest of the year off? I can see them now, at lunch picking over the food, at dinner agreeing that the pianist is really ham-handed. They would have a lovely time and we could all play happily.

    ceci

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    1. Love this idea, Ceci. We could organise a tour for them -- what (very far, remote) destination could we choose?

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    2. I think it would have to be to another era , too. 1930 , perhaps , in a small town in Nottinghamshire .

      But please do continue taking your sketchbook with you . In years to come , your sketches will bring whole days back to life in a moment ... more than photos ever will .

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    3. Oh perfect! Far away in time, that would do.
      That contrast with photos is important for me, and I'm glad you mentioned it. I love the quick record I can get with my iPhone, but sometimes it's too easy. I think I want to add Slow Visuals to my Slow Food. . . ;-)

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  10. Like far too many females, I thought of myself as "bad" at maths. I hated it at school but I managed to overcome my horror when I had to take the Maths GCSE in order to do my PGCE. Imagine my delight when I found that, actually, I was rather good at maths, loved doing my course and passed my exams in less than six months. I resolved that, if I could not get my teaching course place, I would return and do an A level in Maths. Consequently, I have always had great compassion for those children who struggled as I did and I think it made me a better teacher too. When I thought about it, my loathing stemmed not from maths itself but from a brief period when I was 5 (5!!??) with a shouty teacher who made me panic when I was trying to work out some tricky money sums. The fear transferred itself to maths as a whole. Now, when I want to relax, I make myself work out fractions and then convert the answer to decimals and percentages. Sometimes I feel sad at the missed opportunities of my younger years but then I just shrug it off. And I am excellent at converting currencies in my head! Huzzah! Keep going with the sketch book.

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    1. What a horrid waste, although at least you finally discovered and honed your abilities. I'll bet you were a much more thoughtful and encouraging and supportive teacher because of M. Shouty, but I'm not sure that's enough. Perhaps we could find a spot for them in one of Dante's circles. . .

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    2. Snap to nohatongloves childhood maths experience! For me it was 'getting the ruler' i.e. being hit on the hand with a ruler when I was 6 because I rubbed out a wrong sum with my finger. A lifetime of number blindness has ensued!

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  11. Being marooned at home (never break bones in your foot in the summer in FL -- even a walking cast makes it too hot to move around much)has made me start thinking along these lines. I've poured far too many hours into my syllabus for fall and almost caught up with my reading and returning to cross fit to challenge my belief that I can't be athletic is not an option so I'm experimenting with writing fiction. I'm taking my g-grandmother's letters from Asia and trying to write s short story around the most interesting. Not satisfied yet, but good to be stretching and trying something new. I love your beets and look forward to when you have room for an art corner.

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    1. I once wore a cast in the summer, but it was a very temperate Pacific Northwest summer, and even at that, bad enough. Honestly, I can't imagine it in the summer you're having.
      But what a marvellous way to put your trapped condition to good use. This is a brilliant plan for bringing these letters to life by fictionalising them (well, one anyway, but perhaps this project might grow). I think no matter what comes of the project, depending on the time you have for it, that the stretching, trying something new, is grand. Curious to know if research is involved at this stage as well. I'd love to hear how it all develops.

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  12. I think here, art needs to be separated from productivity. How does the process of painting/drawing make you feel? Nothing else really matters, per se. And if you sense you can move the boat, as it were, make the direction take you towards mostly happy and enjoying and revealing some truths, then do it. If not, ah, well, it's not like there is a checklist, Do Art. ;). It is so hard to move from accomplishment to peace of mind. xoxoxox.

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    1. hope I didn't give the impression I have any hope of creating Art. And my reference to productivity at my intro was just meant to clear the way -- I do have a deeply ingrained impulse toward productivity which I struggle against.
      I guess there is a checklist, and it's a very personal one -- I was just trying to share a bit of what gets in the way of Do-ing Art, for me, and curious about what might get in the way of Do-ing something new that one has always wanted to do, for others...The process makes me feel as if I'm having fun, but it's hard to believe that nothing else really matters when there are these loud MIC voices. Sounds as if I'm over-thinking it, from your perspective, but for me, it's all part of the process (and suddenly, I'm hearing Morcheeba)

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  13. I never think I am artistic, but I do believe I am creative. Fortunately I am not a perfectionist, so I never mind too much when my creations are wobbly, or amateur. I have never tried sketching; growing up, my sister was very good and considered 'artistic' by the family, and I suggered for the comparison. I attended a pottery class last weekend and adored every minute, I hope to do more. I learned to quilt last autumn, and have made several quilts. My life is hugely enriched by creativity. It is hard to silence the inner critic (she has such a loud, strident, confident, sneering voice!) but if we can ignore her (or occupy her with something else whilst we work) then our endeavours can bring such joy. X

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    1. This is a good distinction to make, because that first word seems to be loaded with standards whereas the second seems to connote an impulse as much as anything else. Interesting, because that would seem to connect the first word with the level of "craft," acquired, something attainable with practice and discipline to some degree, and yet many of us speak of it as something we're just not and cannot be. Like you, I have many creative pursuits, and I'm pretty decent at them -- music, writing, gardening, needlework of all sorts -- and yet for the whole "making marks on paper" thing I labelled myself as "not artistic" enough. So I'm going to ignore that word for now, along with my MIC's voice, and just be as creative as I want to be, pencil or paintbrush in hand.

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    2. Yes, interesting. I wonder if there is a covert social class/status implied in the choice of artistic/creative endeavours also. I am thinking of well-to-do young ladies in the past who were taught sketching and drawing as ladylike pursuits, to groom them for polite society (as well as fine needlework of the less practical sort), whereas it would be lower class women who would tend to make quilts, or do plain sewing, knitting etc, for practical purposes, where enjoyment of the task came second, if at all (don't ask me where pot throwing comes in to this!). Is sketching/ drawing therefore seen as less practical/more 'indulgent' (note the inverted commas) and more refined, therefore perhaps more open to judgement, therefore more intimidating. It does seem to have a genteel aura about it. x

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    3. This is a point worth considering, Penny. I think you're right, that there's some intersection here between gender and class. That would help make sense of the "Who do you think you are?" voices it's easy for me to hear when I sketch or paint. . . .

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  14. I should have proof read my comment, I meant to say '...and I suffered for the comparison'

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  15. I am so impressed by what you're doing - the process, the reflection on the process, the keeping going, and most of all with what I see as a personal style emerging in your paintings and sketches. It's like the individual 'voice' of a writer.
    My school report cards in secondary school told me I wasn't artistic - grade E for Art. Also for PE. I believed what I was told about Art, because in primary school I had zero interest in Art. Perhaps that's because I wasn't encouraged or awakened in any way, but we weren't particularly encouraged to spend all our spare time reading, which I did. I didn't believe what I was told about PE because I knew I just hated playing hockey, basketball, netball and doing gymnastics. I liked running and horse riding, and that was good enough for me. Now I go to the gym 3 days a week, but still hate the idea of organised sport. I don't think I will ever want to do anything artistic or crafty, but as you know I'm going down the music route. What strikes me from that is that there is a lot of hard work and marginal gains (to borrow from professional cycling) before you get to anything creative, and so your 5 minutes a day of constant refinement are bound to bear fruit.

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    1. Ha! Our school report cards sound quite similar. . . I did believe what I was told about PE (wrote about that once a few years ago -- see my response to Kara above for link if you're interested), and yet I liked swimming, biking, playing games with my siblings and kids in the 'hood. The Art thing didn't bother me at the time. It just Was, an Absolute.
      Through my years teaching piano, I so often heard adults wistfully say they'd always wanted to learn to play, but they knew they "weren't Musical." Those labels were, apparently, being handed out at the same time as the Artistic/Not Artistic ones and the Athletic/Not Athletics. And I knew that if they could commit to the regular practice, they would learn enough to surprise themselves. I think it's very cool that you're picking up an instrument, and I'm sure it will bring you much satisfaction in many ways.

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  16. Your beets would be a pretty print on fabric!!

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    1. Thanks! And so pleased to hear from you -- I see you've posted on your blog, and will pop over soon to check out your latest puns. xo

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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