I have been an artist at heart for as long as I can remember. It was never really something I felt was very challenging, especially in my younger years. It just sort of came naturally and I loved everything I did and everything I made.
As I started Visual Arts as a formal subject though, this changed a little. I had to push myself harder, but after the first 2 or 3 submissions I was pretty comfortable again.
I knew my strengths and avoided my weaknesses.
I was good at Charcoal and Acrylic and I favoured portraits above all else, so that’s what I stuck to. I also let myself get comfortable drawing and painting from photographs. I have produced many works I am very proud of and I will keep using photo references for the simple reason I love how realistic a painting or drawing can look, but I’ve decided that copying photos of people does not feed my love for appreciating the human figure and the world around me.
Over the last few years I have discovered that I really enjoy drawing from life but because it personally feels a little unpredictable, I have avoided making a steady habit of it, out of fear for making ‘ugly’ art. I especially love to draw people but again also felt that because I am used to drawing from photos I should just avoid making a fool of myself by sticking to what I know.
Well this last week, I have decided – Enough is Enough. I cannot expect myself to grow as an artist if I don’t take on what draws my curiosity and pushes my boundaries.
So borrowing a book my mother has had sitting on her shelf for ages, sitting down in my sweatpants and slippers (my home studio winter uniform) I decided NOW is the best time to teach my self figure drawing, as well as begin a regular practice of observational art. I am pushing back against my personal ‘Resistance‘.
I’ve taken baby steps, completing a small section of study each day, alongside at least 1 observational sketch in my visual journal.
It has been one of the most frustrating and motivating experiences I have had in a long time.
At first I’ll think, “Wow, this is going well” and then as the piece progresses, I begin to feel my eyes well up in frustration as I scratch it out of existence, sometimes tearing the page out too. It took me few tries to realize if I kept obliterating them half way I was never going to finish even one.
I’ve learnt that making art is not about perfection. I am not only as good as one piece of art. One sketch does not culminate my value as an artist.
My value as an artist comes from the passion in my practice.
Eventually I managed to form what actually looked like the diagrams in the book and that little bit of progress made me feel like a Florentine master (well, almost).
I am still very far from where I want to be, but I’m a whole lot closer than if I hadn’t even started.
Practice makes passion, passion makes progress and this makes purpose.