When we were in Spain a couple of years ago, I had the privilege of seeing an exhibit of Andrew and Jamie Wyeth's art. I was impressed by the number of pieces the museum had in the exhibit...but more than that, I was shocked at the many works which were on scraps of paper, on cardboard, plywood, butcher's wrapping paper, and anything else that was at hand. As well, it didn't matter to either father or son what medium they were working in...pencil, pastel, watercolor, oil and so on...it was all there, without prejudice for one over another.
The strongest impression I retained from that exhibit was that you do not have to have all the latest equipment, gadgets, brushes, paints, pencils and holders, and ad infinitum, to create. You do not have to be accomplished at drawing, painting, sketching, etc. to start. What you DO have to have is the courage to let go - let go of expectations, let go of fear of failure, fear of not receiving approval, fear of your art not looking like others' art...and a hundred other fears. You just need to let go.
Sounds simple, right? Not so. Letting go of fear and expectation is one of the hardest things an artist has to do. In taking the next few months to explore and to learn, I've found the first step for me is to learn to let go. If I fall, I can get up. If I am unhappy with results, I can try again and do something differently. As a bit of a perfectionist, I am exerting quite a bit of energy to build those "let-it-go" muscles. It's a slow process. But I'm seeing some movement. That's encouraging. Sort of. It might get easier sometime in the future. Right now, it feels like a big risk. One that I am willing to embrace.
I loved a series in the exhibit, which is also in the book above, called The Seven Deadly Sins, painted in 2008. It is of seagulls...each painting demonstrating one of the 7 deadly sins mentioned in the Bible. I "loosely" drew a rendition of a couple of these in my sketch book, not thinking about whether they were perfectly like the original, but just feeling the rhythm of the pencil, looking at the composition and line, and trying to shut off the critical voice in my head that seems to constantly be on high alert. I'm posting the sketches here as a let-it-go exercise. Building those muscles. It kind of feels...ummm....okay!
Learning to let go.