I bought a new watercolor Moleskin a couple weekends ago while visiting a dear friend on Vancouver island. My intent is to have a sketchbook for all my “quick and dirty” sketches – you know, something to drag around always to record just any ol’ thing and keep me sketching regularly to hone my skills, and just for the joy of it. And yet as I sat staring at the first blank page of this beautiful new little book, I hesitated, not wanting to “ruin it” with some crappy drawing. Ah….there it is again – focus on outcome. Even when I don’t want to do that and I know how paralyzing that focus can be. “Process, not outcome”, I tell myself! We artistic types do seem to be our own worst critics. Take for instance my friend whom I was visiting….she is an extraordinary painter!! I have a few of her pieces gracing my walls and I LOVE them. Here are a couple: (my photos don’t do the colors justice at all)
Sadly she hasn’t painted in ages. Mostly because she is legitimately very busy with other things, but even when she took time off to paint she had real difficulty allowing herself to do so. All kinds of reasons surfaced: other pressing tasks, no passion for a subject, room not set up, no supportive community of artistic friends, etc, etc. And, an overactive critical voice that did not support her to mess up a canvas – that’s my opinion of course….we really haven’t discussed it at length because I don’t want to pester her. But, I do know she can be a perfectionist. I know this because I can be paralyzed by the same affliction – it’s familiar to me. I’m sure she will die should she see this posted here, but I love to show off her work – I know she won’t. And I do want to shout to her – PAINT, PAINT!!….just for the joy of it – without evaluation and judgment. Instead I hold her in my heart silently praying for the day she will allow herself to be lost in process without care of outcome.
Hmmmm….what we hope for others is indeed what we most need to heed ourselves – at least it is for me in this case as I stare at the blank pages of a fresh little moleskin. Can we/I listen to the same encouraging voice we/I offer to our/my friends?
And so….I have to credit the inspiration of Margaret Storer-Roche with her post “A Line”. She introduced me to the concept of “Zentangles”. It reminds me of the Doodleart posters I colored as a kid. So…”doodling on steroids”, or perhaps in this case more accurately “doodling on Valium.” I do enjoy anything that puts me in a meditative “flow” state. And this definitely does it. I can’t get too hung up on outcome since the outcome creates itself spontaneously. So, this seemed like just the thing to help me christen the new Moleskin without interference from my critical ego. My first couple pages:
So now that my lovely Moleskin is broken in, I can get on with the business of actual sketching, and just in time….I’m off to my folks cabin in Northern Saskatchewan for a vacation with my family and lots of time to relax and indulge in creative things. Happy July!