It’s good if your drawing looks bad! You think l am crazy l know, but actually this is true.
I was still thinking about my last blog post and how we all go through times when we don’t feel happy with anything we draw. At least, l think that most of us do. And we can get down and beat ourselves up and think we will never get any better etc. etc.
I am sure that there are lots of you, who like me look at their work and think that they wish it was more realistic, vibrant, cleaner, creative ..... or a million other things.
lt seems like very negative thinking (and if we just get stuck on that thought it is), but actually this is something that l think of as very positive. Because the truth is that we won’t make any progress if we don’t see what is wrong!
And the reason l was thinking about this is because someone said to me the other day that they couldn’t see any difference between these four pieces below.
Now l know my progress is not fast, the difference between 2016 and 2019 is not that great, especially when you consider how much time l spend drawing. But l do see a difference, in the vibrancy, the sharpness, the use of color. And as l told you in my last blog post this progress (however small or slow) is what motivates me.
That comment made me think about what we see when we look at our work.
You see, how can you put right what you don’t know is wrong? An alcoholic can never recover from their alcohol addiction until they acknowledge that they have a problem. The beginning of any change in life is the recognition of the need for change. Until that happens we go along making the same mistakes we always make. It is just the same with art.
Seeing the flaws in our work is the beginning of progress. If l don’t recognize that l need to use more contrast in my work l will never add it. If l can’t see that a composition doesn’t work l won’t make a better one.
Sometimes l think l see more and more things wrong with my work, l realize now that this is part of progress, the better you get the more flaws you see, the more areas you want to improve. The important thing is to use what you see is wrong as incentive for change. Never get down about it, it shows that you are getting better.
In my last blog post l told you how l was feeling fed up because l have had so many disasters lately. It is so easy to get discouraged about our work. It doesn’t take much to knock my confidence. Four pieces gone to the cupboard of no return - that had definitely left me feeling bad. But it can be something as simple as looking through too much amazing art on social media or a strange comment someone makes. We all know the feeling. And when you start feeling discouraged you don’t produce your best work and feel more discouraged and start a downward cycle.
So what can we do to make ourselves feel better and quickly? This is one thing I do. It is guaranteed to make you feel better in a few hours.
Find an old piece of art. Make sure you take a photo of it, just as it is. And then spend a few hours working on it.
You want to know why this is so motivating?
Well, the first reason that this is a really good pick me up, is that it is fun. All the tedious under layers are done, all you are doing is tweaking a piece. The best bits!
The second reason is that it is quick (comparatively). A piece like the one above would take me around a week from scratch. But l spent just five hours working on the old piece to improve it. So you see results fast.
And finally of course you see the progress you have made, l can see that the colors are richer and deeper. I can see that l have added more detail. I can see much more contrast. And l can see that the whole piece is much sharper.
After spending a few hours working on this piece l felt so much more motivated and ready to start on a fresh piece in a much more positive frame of mind.
Such a simple thing to do. So, if you are feeling a bit demotivated go and have a look for an older piece and give it a try. You will soon feel so much better.
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