A couple of years ago, I decided to spread my wings a bit . . . and take a drawing class at the KIA (our local art museum and art school). Although I took several art classes in high school and college, I hadn't dabbled in "official" art-making for . . . decades.
It felt good. But I felt pretty much like a fraud.
Last fall, I stumbled into my first colored pencil class. . . and I loved it! The instructor was wonderful -- inspiring and supportive, and my classmates were great (for the most part; there's always . . . Someone; y'know?). Still. Fraud. I was super hesitant about my work. Slow. Careful. Overly cautious.
For example, it took me agonizing weeks to work through this piece (which I now refer to as "Snout I"):
At the end of that first course, the instructor provided each of us with a carefully written "critique" of our work. Mine? Very positive. But. She also pointed out my greatest obstacles: hesitation, second-guessing, fearfulness. She encouraged me to, "make mistakes and try to figure out ways to fix them."
Those words. . . rang through my head.
Kind of like alarm bells.
In fact, her words were the very words that led me to my "one little word" this year: RISK.
Make mistakes and figure out ways to fix them.
I'm here to say . . . I've come a long way since my first colored pencil class. Not necessarily with my art, but with mistakes. I went WAY out on a limb . . . and took a watercolor class last spring. (Different instructor, but also very supportive.) This was a huge risk for me -- because I had no experience with watercolor. AND because there are no erasers in watercolor. (Every time you wet your brush, you're taking a risk.)
Watercolor was a game-changer for me in terms of letting go and making mistakes, and I started just kind of . . . going for it. Realizing, finally, that this art of mine is really JUST for ME. If it works, great. If it doesn't? Fix it. Or pitch it.
This last Saturday, I took a one-day colored pencil workshop. I think my instructor (that same one) was more thrilled than I was -- when I completed (except for the background) this drawing of Jenny during the day-long class. (I call it "Snout II.")
I took a RISK.
I made some mistakes.
I fixed them.
It worked out.
It's very freeing . . . to let go.