Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Preparing Your Mind for Sketching: No Fear

My teacher, Rollin Thomas
I've been painting in watercolors as long as I can remember, and still I experience fear before I even reach for my sketch book! Over the years, I've developed some tools to overcome that fear and enter into kind of sacred space when I paint. Here are some of them:
  • Most important--let go of judgement and expectations. Remember it is all an experiment.  Anything worth doing is worth doing badly, and the only cure for bad paintings is to paint lots more!
  • Allow time to change gears before and after, especially when working at home. A cup of tea is one of my favorite gear changers. 
  • Tell your left brain to let go for a little while. It can have the steering wheel of your life back later. 
  • Making a to do list to attack after I paint reassures me that I won't loose control of my day to day life (for some reason, my left brain has this fear).
  • Set a time limit. I need about an hour for a sketching session, three hours for a good session in the studio.
  • If working at home, choose background music carefully. 
  • If at home, put up your "DO NOT DISTURB" sign. Make sure the kids are settled in bed, phone off the hook, significant other knows not to ask you when the repairman is coming.
 When I am frustrated by the result, I remind myself that every artist does a number of "ugly" paintings among the ones that sing, and the ones I hate are often the ones someone else really likes! Besides, it is all an experiment, and look what I learned!

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