|Our oldest son, Kevin, sent me a short video clip from Instagram of a guy who enjoys painting. I’m going to give you the gist of the message with my own commentary. The guy (I’ll call him Scott) tells a friend that he enjoys painting. The friend asked Scott if he was good at it, which presented a thought-provoking issue. |
Are you good at what you do?
Are you striving to get better?
If you told a friend you enjoyed walking, would the friend ask if you were proficient at it? If you said you enjoyed swimming and someone asked if you were good at it, would you feel inadequate if you couldn’t say you were competing? If someone asked you if you are good at your art, would you feel defensive or modest or……what would you say? Is there a scale by which we gauge the degree of “goodness” in our work?
The guy in the video was making a point that we don’t have to always be striving to be the BEST at everything we do. We don’t have to do our art or our sport so we can compete or so we can become renowned for who we are or what we produce or what we do. We can simply do it for enjoyment; the pleasure it gives us.
I definitely want to be a continual learner till the day I die. But there are limits to how deep I want to go in some areas. Maybe it’s the season of my life right now, but if I want to know what time it is, I don’t want to hear how a clock is made! Just tell me the time….
This particular message from Scott (the video) really spoke to me because I had just come from an art workshop where the instructor taught a palette knife class. I signed up for it because I planned to go back to TN for a visit to teach a palette knife painting class. I’d been painting with a palette knife for ten years, however, I figured I could learn some good tips to pass along to those of you who wanted to attend. (So I could sound like I know what I’m doing!)
Granted, I gathered a few tidbits of information, but much of what this instructor was passing on to us in the short time we had to paint together is not at all what I had hoped to learn. No doubt he is a gifted artist, but I was hoping to learn techniques that would simplify the teaching/learning curve. What I got is more about the psyche of Picasso and Van Gogh. While it was somewhat interesting, it had little to do with my reason for signing up (and shelling out almost $400).
I have discovered that I must not be a good student when it comes to art. Ask Melanie Jackson. She knows I used to have a hard time learning to draw. But I stuck with it and learned the basics. Then took off! But Melanie didn’t make learning so complicated and deep that I got lost in the process. She just showed us how to do a technique and let us experiment with how to make each step work. She didn’t try to tell us how the Masters painted through their various stages of life, lunacy, and rejection. If I wanted to learn about that I would take an Art History Class.
I am learning to place some boundaries around what I want to learn and how deep I want to go. That makes painting…and many other things in life… much less stressful. I want to enjoy experimenting with new art styles and tools. Mainly, I want to have fun with it. It seems that art should be something that brings joy and energy into my life. I had a hard time understanding what the instructor wanted and I didn’t enjoy my time spent in the workshop.
Maybe I will be like Cyndi Lauper and break out in song when I go into the next workshop.
But girls they wanna have fun
Oh girls just wanna have
That’s all they really want
When the workin’ day is done
Oh girls, they wanna have fun.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper
Until then, I’m creating, and going deep when I want, as I allow my paint brush and creativity to flow…just for fun.