I would start a creative project and if it didn’t immediately “work out” I would quit, thinking, “I can’t do this.” When I made my creative resolution 3 years ago, I suddenly felt more accountable. If I didn’t finish a project what would I write about? I began finishing the drawings and paintings I started. I even pulled out canvases long ago abandoned and finished them. Suddenly I had momentum and a building confidence.
Yesterday I began a painting of the ocean from a photo I took. I’m always excited and hopeful at the start. I tried to capture the different colors of the waves and it looked…awful. I almost took the painting and tossed it aside. It reminded me of those frustrating times when my vision and the painting in front of me didn’t match up and I would quit when I’d barely started. This time I persevered and continue to work on the painting. This is what I love about watercolor, that you build the layers up and work at the painting to transform it. As I worked I wondered what has changed from those days when I had piles of unfinished paintings?
What do I have now that I didn’t have then?
- Determination – I want to make the painting work.
- Dedication – I make time for painting almost every day, because it is important to me.
- Confidence – I no longer accept that I do or don’t have the talent. Instead I know that if I continue to work I will be better than I was.
- Experience – The more I paint the more I learn. I have a process and techniques that I use, and as I learn and try new things I add to this.
- History – I have had paintings that I’ve deemed a success. This helps quiet the “I can’t do it.”
- Knowledge that there usually is an ugly stage. It has to look bad before it looks good.
- Lack of pressure – I don’t stress about the final result.
- Enjoyment – I enjoy the process, of working at it, of learning with each painting.