Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Monkey-Mind Learning Curves

I have been working my way through Australian artist LizSteel’s new 6-week online watercolor sketching course. This weekend, after watching her demo videos on color theory, I mixed watercolors, two at a time, first on the palette and then by layering the two colors right on the paper.

“This is tedious,” I thought. And then: “Maybe I like gouache better than watercolor, anyway. Maybe I’m done with this class.” And: “My day job tasks are waiting; I should stop now.”

“Good try,” I told myself, “but I am not buying your monkey mind. This art learning curve means too much to me to take shortcuts.” I reminded myself of my goal to approach a painting confidently, with the knowledge and skills I need to render what I want to. That means I had better work through the exercises that Liz Steel has so carefully and thoughtfully prepared.

In my youth I had the patience and persistence to learn to play the clarinet – eventually quite well. The years-long training involved learning to play scales and finger exercises, and repeating difficult passages over and over so that my fingers would develop the muscle memory needed. Under the tutelage of two encouraging band directors, I slowly developed my skills.

My pre-adolescent beginner self was so full of hope, so devoted, so captivated by the whole process. I call upon her now. We can do this.    

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