What I’m currently finding curious is my attraction and delaying tactics when it comes to learning more about my artistic ability. Over the years I have gathered the tools and equipment for drawing, sketching and watercolour painting and have even taken a watercolour course a fair few years ago. I’m currently not just dragging these items out again but adding and responding to my creative impulses by purchasing craft items. I’ve made soap, started to experiment with paper crafts and am generally drawn to bright colourful items such as modelling clays, glitter, pens and the like. However, when it comes to the opportunity to actually use some of these items I balk.
Today is a perfect example. I have the day and the house to myself. The regular housework and jobs are all done and apart from tea this evening I have the chance to spend my time doing whatever I like. I realise there are thousands of women (and men) who are now just green with envy as they can’t remember the last time they had such an opportunity. And to those of you I apologise. But for the few of you out there who understand where I’m coming from, I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with me. I have time to kill and what am I doing? Well, this firstly! Instead of pulling out watercolour paper and paint I’m trying to figure myself out. If I wasn’t doing this I could be reading, listening to CDs, playing games on the computer, sorting photos. Anything but being artistic.
What’s going on? Why am I procrastinating? Do I not believe I can do it? – That’s probably it you know, I don’t believe in myself. I’ve done loads of things in my life, all mainly average, a few a bit different. Managed to keep a job on the go for over twenty years (most of the time), but deep down I still don’t believe I can create something from scratch. I don’t believe I can create a beautiful painting, and I don’t believe I can write a novel, but still I keep coming back to the idea of these. What is it? Do I really like that much of a challenge?!
I’ve learnt over the years that I tend to like variety in my life, in my work and the things that interest me. And I know if I put my mind to it I can achieve practically anything I want to. Are these just the ramblings of a spoilt brat?! Well, no. My family were typically ‘working class’ and we didn’t have loads of money while we were growing up and though I held a job for these years you are never going to call me rolling in it. I can afford the basics in life and a few treats now and again, much more than some I know. So no, I’m not a spoilt brat. But what is this? Why don’t I believe I can do this? Why can’t I trust in myself this time? Perhaps that’s it – time. I’m looking for perfection and I’ve not put in the time. I guess practise is what counts. I can’t expect to buy some kit, read some books and hey presto(!) I’m an author, or a painter. That’s just insulting to all the professionals out there. Can we really believe that those highly skilled individuals out there, the Monets and Austens, the Hemingways and Picassos just suddenly got a gift from the universe? Surely they had to put in hours and hours of practise, honing their skills, working with their instincts and learning to believe in themselves.
In today’s immediate Western society we are all so used to having things land in our laps, finding things out at the touch of a button, clicking our fingers and there it is, that I can be guilty of forgetting that some things, and some skills take time, patience and commitment. They take work and perseverance and I hold my hands up and apologise to all the professionals out there, to all of you who were shouting this answer out to me and most of all to myself. For giving myself such a hard time and for expecting me to be able to find a lifetime’s skill in just a few hours of trying. (Or in this case not trying!) I’ll make a promise to myself right now that I will aim to lower my expectations and that I will commit to giving myself permission to practise, to try and fail and to try again, and to learn to have fun, experiment and to play, while I patiently learn my lesson.