I only jumped back into learning from other people about 2 years ago. Before that, I was flipping through Somerset Studio magazines on my art room floor. Visiting the same blogs I’d followed for years. But I wasn’t doing any art. I wasn’t getting inky and painty.
I decided I wanted to play again, to jump in with both feet. And I started doing online and in person workshops with various artists. Discovering Jane Davenport has been a huge leap forward for me. And THAT conversation on her deck during a 2 day workshop at her house has been big. A turning point. A lightbulb. A big flashing arrow pointing me in the direction I need to go.
No-one wants to hear that you get better with practice. And that the more you practice, the better you get. I’m the reining Queen of Impatience – I wanna be awesome on the first go. But the world doesn’t work like that. When Jane told me to practice my drawing, part of me groaned like a kid being told to go tidy their room. “Awwww, do I have to?”. But part of me heard it. Really heard it. And now, I’m practicing in a huge $2 sketchbook I had lying around. I’m sketching with some weird 2H pencil sharpened at both ends that came from my Mum’s house (because it makes sketching more fun if there is the possibility of poking your eye out).
I’m not just copying my teachers which is so, so important for me. In that sketchbook, I’m exploring. I’m playing. I’m trying stuff out. I’m making mistakes. I’m doing some really bad sketches. Really bad. But it all counts. You learn from each one. You figure stuff out. You play with different styles. You find what you are drawn to. You begin to discover the elements that are your style. And you grow away from your teachers.
I’m playing with faces, body shapes, journalling, props and clothes. Just throwing it all in there and seeing what comes out in the wash. I’m just following my instincts and following what I’m called to do next without thinking if it’s going to ruin what I’ve done so far. Oh, the dreaded “what if I wreck it?” And somewhere along the line, I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. Finding my style, finding my personal alphabet, what I love to do.
Hmmmmm…. this practice thing might be more fun than I expected.