Monday, July 23, 2018

Don't Try to Kill It

Watercolor and Pencil,
hand-book journal co.
Watercolor Grand Portrait 10.5" x 8.5"
My dad used to take my sibs and me golfing when we were young. He would say, "Don't try to kill it" when he could tell we were winding up to do just that at the tee box. He knew our desire to hit the ball a long way exceeded our skills for doing so. Dad had a way of feeding that kind of advice to us in a gentle way, just when we needed it. Now I try to use the same approach with my grandsons when we play tennis.

And with myself, as it pertains to art. Because until yesterday afternoon I hadn't painted in over a month (that's right -- I totally bombed on the 30 paintings in 30 days project) and my skills are darned rusty and yes, I found myself trying too hard and getting frustrated. Where was the feeling after returning from the Scottsdale workshops in March that I could see compositions everywhere I looked? Where was the drive to do multiple versions of the same composition? Where was that super-power vision I boasted about in early June?

Gone, gone, gone.

Here's what I wrote in pencil at the top after I was finished with yesterday's painting: "Harder than it looks folks! Painted this scene from page 45 in Will Freeborn's book, Learn to Paint in Watercolor with 50 Paintings. Thought this would be simple enough, but, but, impatience with fine details got in my way, along with my impatience with waiting for areas to dry."

Then I swallowed my disappointment at my trying-too-hard efforts and added: "But I loved his composition of the hand holding the flowers, and of course the poppies...such fabulous flowers."

Yes, poppies are fabulous. Yes, it's worth trying again. Yes, it's time to get back to the basics, whether it's art, golf, or tennis:

  • Don't try to kill it.
  • Practice a lot.
  • Ask a trusted mentor for help now and then.
  • Remember: this is not your day job. It is supposed to be play. (And that is why I added "Be Free" to the tattoo on the arm in the painting.)

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