Always on my list is making more art. I’ve always been sporadic about it, which leads me to feel badly about not doing it. I want to make art but I hold myself back.
Near the end of 2020, I stumbled across the year-long course Wanderlust 2021. 50 weeks of video “assignments” throughout the year. Of course, I hemmed and hawed but at the last minute I signed up.
I have kept up with it, finishing the given assignment every week and posting to the private Facebook group.
And in making more art, more consistently you actually start learning how you work and what you like. (What a concept, right? 😉 ) Here is what I’ve learned so far.
1. I like to clean up completely after each project.
I clean fairly regularly in my non-art life so this makes sense to me. Clean the slate so that each project starts fresh and can unfold without being hampered by what came before it or being crowded out on the art table.
2. I am a neat artist. What can I say?
This seems similar to cleaning up after each project but is more related to art supplies. I once had someone comment how neat my watercolor tray was. It felt weird – I almost felt like apologizing because aren’t artists supposed to be messy? Sometimes it felt like I wasn’t a real artist because I was so neat but I have quietly continued wiping off stencils after using them, washing brushes pretty regularly and cleaning up my paint mixing trays or lids.
In one of the Wanderlust videos, artist Dyan Reaveley cleans off her stencils and tidies up her area as she goes. Permission. Granted. I will continue to wipe my stencils off with glee and make nary an apology for it!
3. “Mistakes” aren’t stopping me in my tracks.
Because I feel like I’m supposed to be learning and trying new things, I feel ok about “mistakes”. I feel free to make them, in fact, and in doing so am learning to adapt and move through without getting too attached, stuck or caught up in how I thought it “should” look. Sure, sometimes I get disappointed when I go overboard and paint over something I liked but disappointment is ok, too.
The image on the left is not my finest work nor my favorite. Can see the circular shapes that are painted white? I put too much paint on the brush and covered up everything I liked. Disappointed, yes, but I just started over rather than giving up.
I am almost ready to tackle a painting that has been sitting around for at least 2(!) years. It needed something but I didn’t want to screw it up. I have some ideas for it now and I think I could get it done without too much drama. And if I make a “mistake”? I’ll just figure it out from there!
4. Focused topics are helping me get it done and not overthink things.
I took Flora Bowley’s Creative Revolution E-Course a number of years ago. I certainly enjoyed it and have a cute, chubby little eggplant hanging in my kitchen that I painted in that class. As of now, I do not think I am an intuitive painter. I do think all painting has a bit of this in it – trusting the process, trusting it will turn out right. What I mean is, I do better showing up with a specific topic or idea to paint.
Showing up and hoping something will emerge from the canvas, at this moment, doesn’t work well for me. Maybe that will come with more work and more time!
5. Pushing through overthinking.
Wanderlust has helped with overthinking, not removed it entirely. That lovely facet of my personality will probably never go away!
A recent assignment had me mentally chewing my fingernails. What do I do? No one will like it! It has to be good! No. No, it doesn’t.
First of all, we were supposed to be using junk mail. JUNK. Also, this is a class to learn and play in a journal. This is not a commissioned piece of art for the Getty Museum.
Prior to Wanderlust, I would have done nothing, waiting for perfection to strike me and create a masterpiece. Instead, laughing at myself, I chose colors I never use, made a mess of the background just to do something. Some flowers I cut off a tissue box inspired the rest. Pushing through overthinking got me to create something out of a clothing tag, a tissue box and some flyers. I’ll take it.