LEARNING TO LOVE THE PRACTICE
Posted on September 02 2017
The thing I notice most when teaching people workshops or personally, when I haven’t drawn or painted in a while is the need to rush through the process and have a final result. I’m not sure why we do it- it could be indicative of the busy lives we lead or just a need for fast self gratification but it’s the one thing that really stitches us up when creating. My classes are mostly about learning to accept and love the process and pretty much forget about the final result. It’s not particularly common to think like this in our lives so it really does take some practice. And it’s hard. I think there’s a general perception that creating can be a very fluid process where everything just pours out of you. And sometimes it is- those moments are incredible and intoxicating and addictive. But often it's somewhat gruelling.
And the process is not necessarily roses the whole time. It’s frustrating, testing of one's self-identity and often laborious. Experimental work involves a lot of problem solving and staying very present with the work- hence why creating is often described as meditative. But this takes practice- meditating can be hard when you only do it every now and then and likewise creating requires discipline and dedication.
Personally I prefer to not know how a piece will turn out. I have a starting point and then I kind of switch my brain off to a certain extent and paint by intuition, occasionally checking back in with my design mind to see if the piece is working. It’s always a gamble but I see no point in painting a piece if I already know how it’s going to turn out. This way of creating I’ve realised over time, requires a lot of courage and trust that even when something looks questionable or totally shit it’s actually just a problem waiting to be turned into something that I didn’t know I could create. It’s like that ancient proverb (most likely) 'You can only plan the next step and see where that takes you' (DEFINITELY familiar right?). Personally I find this extremely stress relieving. Being a non planner, if I know I can just concentrate on the next step and the rest will take care of itself is a real weight off my shoulders. It’s like going on a holiday and knowing everything is taken care of.
And all these ways of creating relate one hundred percent to how I’ve come to live my life. There’s a reason art is used as therapy- the problem solving and how you as a person find your way out of situations is basically a reflection of how you live your everyday life. It’s also a massive mirror which can be confronting but also incredibly effective if there’s things about your life or how you approach your life that you want to change. Ok this is getting very Tony Robbins (I wonder if I can mention Tony Robbins in every blog entry… challenge #1) so I shall leave it there. The moral of the story is just keep creating. A little bit everyday.