So, What’s the Problem?

  • by
Comfortable Silence (Graphite)

Comfortable Silence (Graphite)

I’m really finding it hard to create anything at the moment! I think I’m finally getting back on track again after all the upheaval of last year… So, what’s the problem? I ask myself this almost daily at around this time (11pm), not entirely surprised to find the day is over and I’ve missed another chance.

So, I decided I might try and share some of what I’m experiencing. Maybe getting it down on paper will help me work it out, maybe if you’re stuck too it’ll help you, and just maybe you’ll have some amazing tips to share with me 😛 .

As a bit of background, I’ve spent much of the past year allowing myself to be unproductive while recovering from lots of life things – an unexpected break up, illness, increased workload and ultimately moving house… Happily, I’m feeling much more myself again and keen to get on with life. I’ve begun spending time working on my neglected website and I’m starting to feel enthusiastic about painting again.

However, all the good intentions are going nowhere as far as actually painting is concerned, and each day ends without pencil or brush touching paper. I’m quite bemused at myself! Do I really want to paint or not? If I do, why do I keep not doing it? Who’s kidding who? And how do I keep tricking myself out of it. As you can see, I’ve been doing a lot of talking to myself!

This weekend I finally picked up a brush and dabbled for a while, and the results illustrated (pun intended) what might be the problem… I’m facing exactly what I’ve been fearing: Can I actually remember how to paint?! Answer: No, not really… all the practise I’ve put in over the past three years has gone. The sketching is still mostly OK, as you can see from the doves pictured… but watercolour? Forget it.

I’m not saying that I can’t hit the paper with a brush covered in paint, but that’s about as far as it goes. The mental link from brain to hand is missing. You know, that special magic skill that you don’t learn until after you pass your driving test. Well it works for painting too, and probably for any skill you become really familiar with. I think I’d just begun to experience, and enjoy it, when I stopped painting.

So what’s been stopping me is the worry that it’s not like riding a bike and I’ll have to go through the whole awkward learning process again to get it back. I’m disappointed to have lost it so quickly, a bit angry with myself really, and I’m embarrassed to share stuff that I’m not thrilled about. Hence the sketch, not the painting dabbles 😛 .

Then last night I came across an article called “Practise isn’t Sexy” that described my problem exactly and put it in a nutshell:

“If you can’t quite seem to commit the time to learn then it’s time to admit one of two things… Either learning that particular skill is not really a priority for you or you are afraid of looking stupid.” -Lindsay

I’m pretty sure I want to learn the skill or I wouldn’t keep torturing myself about it all the time, so I just have to make time and get over this fear of looking stupid!


The article is also worth a read if you have a moment or two – “Practise isn’t Sexy” by Lindsay.