“Sometimes we can panic and fear about the unknown, when all we really have to do is to fully believe everything is working absolutely perfectly for us. Our job is to let go and allow amazing experiences in to our lives.” [Dr. Ann Quinn]
I don’t know about you, but this is sometimes easier said than done. Yet I know based on my experiences, that the less I try and orchestrate things that I’m uncertain about, they nearly always turns out better than I could have possibly imagined. In fact often-times the outcome wasn’t even in my imagination and is completely unexpected.
It’s a lesson that I seem to need to learn repeatedly and be reminded of often. I guess it’s human nature to have doubts and to worry that ‘this time’ things might not turn out for the best.
A few months ago, I started drawing on my hand-made paper in ink. It started with a handful of drawings of trees and sunflowers, just in ink. As my confidence grew, I began to add watercolor pencil into the mix of drawings. This evolved into a trilogy of drawings inspired by the perfection or the beauty within our imperfections. This set included not only ink and water color pencil, but landscape color pens as well.
Each phase of my exploration in drawing has come with an unexpected lesson in life and a bit of self discovery. I truly love working in black and white, there’s something about the contrast and lack of color that is romantic and somewhat mysterious. Ink seems to have become my medium of choice (at least for now), and it was a little strange for me to feel drawn toward adding color.
My latest discovery was a set of brightly colored pens that are a wonderful compliment to the softer landscape colors. The contrast between black and the vibrant pink, blue, green, and purple is amazing. As luck would have it, I had three more pieces of handmade flax paper that were each uniquely different, but similar enough to inspire another trilogy.
It became an evening escape and the best word I can use to describe the way the kaleidoscope of colors and shapes emerged is unexpected.
Each of the drawings starts with a blank piece of hand made paper created from flax. I use the creases and pieces of fiber, the curves and the crinkles as guides for my imagination.
The first drawing has a bit of a hot air balloon feel to it.
After one of my friends told me that her daughter saw a mermaid in the second drawing, I decided to name it “Under the Sea.”
I’m a geek when it comes to my drawing and I love taking pictures of it while it’s in progress.
After the first night of working on the third piece, I thought, “hmmmmm it’s nice, but there’s no way it’s going to be as pretty as “Under the Sea.” But after the second session I began to wonder.
Ink is an unusual medium for me to love. As a perfectionist, it usually feels uncomfortable and even down right scary to know that there’s no opportunity for a do-over. The fear of the unknown and the potential to make a mistake can be crippling and can even keep us perfectionists from trying.
With one corner to go, I let it rest for a night while my imagination processed the possibilities.
One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed the process of creating these drawings is that it completely absorbs me and there’s no room for self doubt or ‘real world’ worries. I simply let myself go and follow wherever my instincts tell me to go. I really don’t think about which color to use, I feel it.
I finished the final corner and a wave of sadness and a thrill of completion crisscrossed over me. Sad because I was done and thrilled because it was beautiful.
I found myself reminiscing about how scary it was to even start a drawing just a short time ago. It occurred to me that just like life, each drawing starts with a blank page and even when the artist has an image in mind, the final piece often takes an unintended direction.
The difference between when I let go and trust my instincts and enjoy the process rather than fighting to reproduce a predefined image is like night and day. The parallel to life struck me as uncanny. When I trust myself and really believe that things are unfolding as they are meant to be. When I quit trying to control things, and let go of worry and panic the outcome is as amazing as a beautiful piece of art.
“Ribbons of Joy” seemed to be an appropriate title.