I’ve been doing some experimenting lately – sort of letting myself go “out on a limb.” which isn’t something I’m necessarily prone to do. I’d have to say, I think I may start going out on the proverbial limb a little more often.
My first big step was almost a year ago and I registered for a drawing class. The beginner class was full, so I took a deep breath and signed up for the intermediate/advanced class.
The first lesson was to draw a sunflower. I started it in January and I finished it in March. I was nearly petrified at the thought of drawing a circle that would become the center of the flower and I tried not to focus on the petals that seemed to fly onto everyone’s paper but mine. What I didn’t know is they were all just as nervous as I was. I also didn’t understand that the point of the lesson wasn’t to make a carbon copy of the original, it was to learn about shading.
The next drawing was a landscape and very complex. I shocked myself with the fact that somehow I grasped two point perspective (well sort of). This drawing took me even longer than the sunflower did, but I think it was worth the effort. Again, I misunderstood the point of the exercise. The focus was to learn about perspective and proportion as well as to experiment with a new medium. (the background trees are done in ink)
The second session started off with a first for me. I was thrilled when I completed the pine cone during class. Until that morning, I’d never finished a piece in anything less than four long working sessions. (I think this may always be one of my favorites)
Yesterday I had a realization.
I’ve completely misunderstood creativity and in particular drawing.
I was scared on my first day of drawing class because I thought I had to produce an exact replica of the sunflower. I took months to labor over each petal and leaf to make sure the shading was exact and matched the original as closely as possible.
Lately I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with ink and the paper I made. The drawings have a somewhat primitive feeling and I can’t help but wonder if I’m discovering my style. I am really enjoying the texture and irregular shape of the paper. It’s funny to note that what would have made an imperfect surface to write a letter made a perfect canvas for an ink drawing.
I like some better than others, but they are all unique and beautiful in their own way. I can honestly find at least one thing I like about each one of them.
Last night I realized that drawing isn’t about reproducing an image – it’s about interpreting a moment. It’s not about perfection, it’s about having some fun and feeling – it’s about grace.
I say grace because that’s what I feel we need to allow ourselves – and what we need to accept from others.
Honestly every time I look at a drawing, I think about what I could or should have done differently – what could have made it better.
There’s always something, but that’s where I think creativity and art is misunderstood. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about creating, it’s about being – it’s about trying. It’s understanding that completing something even if it’s got a few flaws is all part of learning and growing and it applies to any endeavor, not just art.
Most of all it’s about having fun and enjoying life.