Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I Want it NOW!

This morning I was tracking a package online to see where it was. UPS tracking is a beautiful thing. It's almost like being with your package on its journey.
Tracking tells you when it was packed, when it shipped and where it is in transit. It even tells you when it arrives.

I also have Amazon prime. With prime your package is guaranteed to have two day delivery (yipee!) and you get free shipping. Which you really pay for up front with the $99 fee to join prime. (although I'm using my sons student account that cost $39) Amazon does the same thing with tracking. I can literally see online the progress my purchase is making. I think its the best thing since slice bread. Well, besides butter. Let's keep it real...

Why do these conveniences make me so happy? Because I'm the type that wants it yesterday! We don't like to wait for anything anymore and I am the worst! I've always been impatient. My blood absolutely comes to a boil when I am placed on hold!! I hate waiting and I'm getting worse with age. And we all know that we have become a society that values our fast paced conveniences. When I want something I want it NOW! I'm sure this is not a great character trait and my patience is tested daily, if not hourly!

When it comes to art, I see this in action over and over again when I teach. We want skills instantly and we want to be able to produce a painting to our standards in a few short lessons-or in one. And while I can teach you that, by giving you a formula that you can repeat, I think it does you a great disservice. Drawing, for instance, is foundational to any art that is representational, so if you want something to look like it's supposed to, you need to learn to draw. And that applies to any of the skills needed to do art. If it helps you to have a formula, that's ok to start. But then all your paintings will look the same because you've learned the formula and not the skills necessary to express your creativity. I've said this before on this blog: once the skills are in place you have a freedom to not be thinking about them but instead use them to express your creativity. Think of it like you would driving a car or riding a bike. You didn't just get in the car and take off! First you had to learn HOW to drive. At first you are so focused on putting all those skills together just to stay on the road. After you've learned those skills you have the freedom to enjoy the views and chat with your passenger because your skills are automatic now.

In art, much like my subscription to Amazon Prime, there is a payment you must make upfront. That payment is putting in the time and doing work it takes to become proficient with your materials and learn your skill set. There are no shortcuts to art. This notion that anyone can do art is only held by those that have never tried to do art. Artists are not gifted, they have spent years learning to do what they do. The gift is the creative spirit. The muse that moves the one who has paid his or her dues. There are no shortcuts.

On my other blog I keep writing the phrase "what we feed is what will grow", because it is a theme in my life right now. I've been trying to be more intentional and really look at what I want from my life. Asking that question gets me in trouble because I want a lot! I remember Oprah one time saying that you can have it all, just not all at once. That stuck with me. I don't believe it this side of heaven. I don't think anyone ever "has it all". But...I do think that is what creates the drive and desire to do and become more. So I ask myself what it is I really want right now. What is it that I value and what is it I most care about. From that place the choices are easier and one reason many of my art activities are on hold. But I have learned that art will always be woven into the fabric of my life because it enriches my life. I cannot imagine life without a conscious awareness and involvement in art. You've heard it said- "art is life" and "life is art"?

I've included an update on a drawing I did for the journal of my dad. This is my life and my art right now. I'm glad I paid my dues and have the skills to capture him in my sketches. 
ignore the writing-I am journaling his stories along with my sketches of him


  1. still trying to learn the skills...down in Fl right now..Wed is plein air painting day with a group. We usually paint where there are some shelters/overhings due to the hot sun, today is was for the rain we knew was coming...but 6 of us painted anyway...the learning is so darn slow, but i am trying to be past the part where I am fustrated, and just enjoy the process....working on it...

    1. Yes, it's slow, but you should look back to where you started and you would see how far you've come! You are the poster child for tenacity! Plein Air requires a different set of skills than studio painting, so cut yourself some slack. And keep up the good work--it will pay off!