Challenging yourself – or at least your pre-conceived ideas about yourself is an interesting exercise. I’m sure that in the main, it is self-fulfilling. In the words of Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right”. But once in a while, you’re surprised and delighted to find that you were wrong.
Last October I took a leap and challenged the idea I’d harboured all my life: the one that said I have no artistic ability. I immersed myself in drawing and painting for 4 days at Chenevaux and that was it – I was hooked. Mark’s teaching style was perfect – he knew exactly how much structure and theory to give me, and how much freedom to explore. The result was a mini portfolio of 4 paintings and a sketch book which I was determined to get into my miniscule Ryan Air luggage allowance, even if I had to leave my shoes behind.
My first reaction was to want to be able to do it all Right Now! I am impatient and demanding of myself by nature and I expected every blank piece of paper to become a finished painting. When I reached a point where I felt I needed an outside perspective, Jo Tunmer persuaded me to start putting photos of my paintings on Facebook. What a scary moment that was! But also, as it turned out, a fantastic piece of advice and a wonderful motivation to paint more. I love the fact that people seem enjoy looking at my work.
My fabulously talented sister who was always ‘the artistic one’ in the family, has been a really valuable sounding board. (I was ‘the numbers one’).
Challenging yourself – the next steps:
It felt hugely presumptuous to think that I could paint something worth putting on exhibition. And yet that seemed a good milestone to aim for. So, aim for it I did. And early in October I had a series of my painting in a local exhibition for the first time. My first year of painting has been a massive eye-opener in so many ways. Finding out that painting can be learned (even by someone who has always been ‘the numbers one’), watching and waiting for a style to emerge (still waiting..), and in many cases looking at a finished work and finding it difficult to believe that I did that (even though I was there at the time 🙂 ).
So the question now is: what will you to to start challenging yourself?