Wednesday, 5 October 2011
THE THREE P's
Hello again folks.
I enjoy contributing to a marvellous website...www.wetcanvas.com. Recently, someone came to the threads, very discouraged by her lack of progress, which brings me to today's blog post - a little about "growth" as an artist.
When I was teaching classes of students, I often came across people very discouraged by their own efforts - they could "see" in their heads what they wanted to achieve, but what they actually did achieve fell way below their expectations.
I tried to explain it this way.
We adults have well-developed brains (well, most do anyway. Sometimes I look at my husband and wonder about that, when he stands in front of the fridge and says "the butter isn't here" and lo and behold, there it is, one shelf below where he expected it to be.) What we don't have is well-developed abilities when we begin drawing and painting. Some people have a great natural "facility" and painting seems to come easy to them, others have to beaver away for ages before they begin to produce work which they are pleased with. I believe this is because we have a filtering system going on, between brain and hand. I tell people that there are various "sieves" all the way down your arm. !! You listen, or read; you think you have absorbed what you have heard or read - you probably did understand it after all; it starts to trickle down your arm, but gets held up by the little sieves along the way, and often does not reach your hand until months, or sometimes years later, when you will then have a "light bulb moment". I can remember myself thinking one day "Oh THAT is what she meant!" when suddenly the penny dropped and I understood what a tutor had tried to explain to me months earlier.
The gap between our expectations, and our abilities, can take a LONG LONG TIME to bridge. It slowly closes as we work, and produce lots of work. For some people, it never quite happens - I for one long for my work to be as good as Degas' work, for example!!!
What you need is the three P's....patience, perseverance, and practice. Remind yourself of this every day.
It has taken me many years to get from those early sketches at the top of this post, to the work below.I am embarrassed to say how many, but I did have brown hair then, and it is silver now! Many, many tears were shed along the way. Light bulb moments occured now and then, giving me hope. Occasionally, I would produce a sketch or painting, and would wonder where on earth it came from.....had I been channelling another artist? Whatever happens, you must relish the journey. Keep reminding yourself of this when you feel discouraged. It is just a step along the way.