“Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything.” Eugène Delacroix
This week on my Artist Way journey. I felt I wasn’t into it as much as I “should”. As I was reading the chapter, I felt the “been there done that” feeling come up and was wondering if, I really should be focusing on this book or move onto something else. Those doubts came creeping up on me and I caught them right away. So I tried to look at the chapter differently.
Recovering a Sense of Power
This is the title of this chapter. If I am to grow and learn, I must check in and reclaim the power which allows me to make choices that are right for me. So what if I have understood and grown already with certain aspects of this book. I still have plenty of room left for growth. As the chapter describes I “will be asked to consciously experiment with spiritual open-mindedness”. By agreeing with myself to continue, I did just that!
Week 3 is all about discovering anger, synchronicity, shame and dealing with criticism. I discovered this week, that when someone tries to take me away from “me time” or if I try to wither myself of my own “me” time, I get very frustrated and angry. I also took a look back on the past year and realized the enormous amount of synchronicity which has led me directly on this part of my journey. Feeling ashamed about my work is something I thought I no longer felt, so I took the time to read over this part of the chapter quickly to make sure there is no residual effects of shame (ahem). Am I sensitive to criticism? I can be, however, now I only have cheerleaders look at my work. Not only do my cheerleaders encourage me to when I show my art, they are also honest enough to tell me where or what I can change or improve. This is where I have grown in my life in the past 10 years. No more “nay sayers”.
The big test in recovering my sense of power was this week’s Artist Date.
Sunday was perfect: No heat, no humidity, a fresh breeze, perfect timing for my walk to the waterfront to sketch. I was so excited. I borrowed my daughter’s sketch book, took 2 pencils, and 2 black pencil crayons and proceeded to sharpen them. I was going to make a masterpiece, I thought to myself! Pure excitement!
As I ran out the door, with art supplies in hand, I quickly returned to grab my camera. I wasn’t going to bring it, however, my camera is my best friend I usually don’t leave home without it. As I walked to my sanctuary, I noticed all the beautiful flowers I could be taking pictures of along my trail. I quickly reminded myself I was going to La Rivière Des Milles Iles, a river that runs through our town from the Lake of Two-Mountains to draw a priceless masterpiece.
Heading towards the beach, I noticed a woman sitting in her lawn chair enjoying her books, and an old man sitting right under my favorite tree admiring the scenery. Children were happily playing by the rocks. The seagulls were doing their dance, and there were plenty of rocks, flowers and houses around.
Oh boy there’s LOTS to draw!
I opened my sketchbook as I was witnessing a sail boat coming my way. I thought “perfect” thus proceeded to draw. A triangle, a line, some water.. “BLEH!” The sailboat ended up looking like a party hat! I felt a bit frustrated, yet decided to turn the page and start over. “I will draw the dock and the children. That’s it!” But again, the dock wasn’t lining up properly, I tried smudging with my finger and as I looked at the picture I saw a Aero chocolate bar!!! UGH!
So I figured: “lets not try to draw a thing… just doodle” While doodling for about 15 minutes, I realized my doodles looked like stick men on steroids. I threw my sketchbook behind me in frustration.
“I am no good at this!” (internal judgement awaits)
I can be hard on myself at times, and this was one of those times. As I fought back the tears, I realized how silly I was being and really not enjoying my time at all. Artist Dates are supposed to be fun. As I sat there on my big rock meditating, observing and listening to what was going on around me, I started seeing “pictures” in my photographer mind, it was then I realized I had my camera.
I took it out and proceeded to take picture after picture, feeling like quite the artist. I loved watching the kids as they were testing the waters with their toes, or the men out in the water coming in with their boat, the clouds, the plants, the sparkle of the water as the sun hit the shore. Sounds became prominent, the waves, the laughter, and my most favorite sound of all, the rustle of the leaves as the wind blows through them. I was in ‘da zone.
What I have learned from this experience is that I am my worst judge. I may have cheerleaders all around me, but if I am going to put myself down, it defeats the purpose. This self negative criticism will end up blocking me, and there is nothing worse than feeling blocked as an artist. I must take that rock out of my way!
Be gentle with your artist.
Julia Cameron writes:
“Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, and one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself. A creative recovery is a healing process. You are capable of great things on Tuesday, but on Wednesday you may slide backward. This is normal. Growth occurs in spurts. You will lie dormant sometimes. Do not be discouraged. Think of it as resting”. p. 74
Lets see how good I am at being gentle with myself this week to come, as Week 4 is about Recovering a Sense of Integrity. AHA!!
I tell you all about that next Tuesday!