Friday, 26 February 2010

Do You Act Nicer than You Are?

Do you act nicer than you really are? It has become a habit for me. Like many people I don't like conflict, especially with people I don't know. I back down, I give in, I step sideways rather than just saying "no". I stay polite even when the other person isn't. Sometimes this is maturity on my part, more often it's habit. Or lack of courage. Or an unconscious desire to avoid being judged.

It could also be a defense that I learned as a child with a dominant older sister. But whatever the reason (and how long can you blame your childhood?)...

I think I am getting over it. Think of what happens inside yourself when you try and do what others want instead of speaking up. Years ago I realized that it would have more integrity to risk other people resenting me for being truthful than to resent other people when I am not. Now I have gotten to the point in my life where I really want to live it. Of course ideally we would both express what was really happening, but If I speak up and the other person doesn't, I can still walk away clear. No residue of resentment.

Then the challenge is to stay in my own business and not start worrying about what they think of me.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

It Takes Six Years to Learn to Draw

Here we get to the conundrum I referred to in my last post. Because in my experience both are true: that everyone can draw and that it takes years to learn to draw. (There could be exceptions to this. People who can teach themselves how to draw, or just have tons of talent? It wasn't my experience, even though I was considered talented.)

You could compare it to learning to sing or learning to dance. We can all dance, we can all sing. But if you want your original talent to grow and expand, if you want to be able to draw in a way that you can't now, you begin another journey.

After I received my post graduate degree in visual arts, I discovered that I couldn't paint the way I wanted to. I had to find a school that taught traditional skills. My teacher told me, six years to learn to draw.
This was strange for me to hear as I thought that I already knew how to draw. I had been a graphic artist before my return to university, and had always been praised for my drawing skills. I knew that I wasn't skilled in painting, but I thought that I could draw.
Apparently not.

My teacher then took me on a 4 year journey relearning how to draw, and beginning a journey to learn how to paint. I had to actually unlearn many of my habits around drawing. That was painful.
What I discovered was that I had been on a deadend road in my drawing. I would not have been able to improve. After she had tutored me, I was on a new road, one where I could continue to grow and develop as a draftsperson indefinitely.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Everyone can Draw.

Ah, the conundrums of life.

Everyone can draw. Look at any five-year-old. They don't doubt it.

I love kids' drawings. Who doesn't? So alive, spontaneous, expressive.

But as adults we don't want to draw like children. We feel ashamed and say "I can't draw". How old were you the last time that you drew? Six? Seven? Eight? Why then be ashamed or even surprised that you draw like a child? Do you expect to play Mozart on the piano when the last time you played was chopsticks at the age of eight?

Have you ever considered that drawing like a child could be something you could enjoy?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Art Journaling, How do I love thee?

What is it about art journaling that makes me love it so much?
I like that it's in a book. I have always loved books, and I love working in a book. I can take it with me, and the pages turn and I can close it and it's like I have my own little world under my arm or in my bag.

I love that I get to write in my book. I also love that it isn't just writing. I love that I get to use different pens in pretty colours when I write. I have an excuse to buy lots of pens.

I love that I can do anything I want in there. I can draw or paint or collage or write, and one isn't 'better' than another. I don't have to worry about what it looks like or how it will turn out. I really really like that.

I love that I get to use pretty colours and buy new materials that I can try out. I also love that I can use ugly colours and use stuff out of the bin and recycle useless stuff.

I love that I sometimes write really deep stuff and get these wonderful insights into my self and the world. I also love that I can write really shallow stuff like lists of stuff I want to buy or complain about petty things, hee hee.

I love that pages that I think are hopelessly ugly sometimes end up really cool looking. I also like that sometimes I end up hating my prettiest pages, much to my surprise.

I love hanging things off the pages.

I love how excited almost everyone gets when they look at an art journal.

I love looking at other people's art journals.

I love how my art journal surprises me. That what I make surprises me.

I love turning on other people to art journaling.