Somewhere along the way, making art became less about being creative, and more about being afraid of doing it wrong. My fear of failure runs deep. I'm a perfectionist at heart, without many of the skills necessary for that level of expertise.
One thing I've always wanted to be able to do is paint with water colors. Paint brushes and I have been on the outs for decades. My inability to control a brush, and my lack of exposure to painting techniques makes me so nervous.
You know that saying "Do one thing that scares you every day?" For me, taking an art class is very scary. I am so afraid of making a mistake. It's only paper, right? But what if I'm the only one who asks for a second piece of paper? My tolerance for embarrassment is pretty low.
In an effort to overcome my phobia of failure, I've been trying to expose myself to my fears, little by little. Last fall, I took a stab at a water color class, painting birch trees. And this spring, I took another class, learning to paint violets.
|Our teacher's example. I was so worried that her violets only had four petals.|
The whole "creative license" thing is wasted on me.
Chuck does not comprehend the depth of my fear. He tries to be encouraging by saying, "An art class should be fun. Don't forget to have fun while you're there. It's not about doing it right; it's about learning and experimenting. Just have fun." Easy for him to say. He has the same attitude about drumming. I get so focused on the rhythm and technique, I honestly forget to have fun doing something I love to do.
Our local library sponsors seasonal art classes, and there is no charge to residents. The teacher is so supportive, and likable. She really does her best to put the class at ease, saying humorous things like, "It takes two people to make a painting. One to actually paint, and another to tell the painter when to stop."
That's supposed to be funny, but I hear that I better be careful not to overwork my piece, or I'll be sorry. Sigh.
When she was talking about the art supplies, she said if we buy a tray of water color paints, we should toss the paint brush, and spend a few dollars to get a nice brush with a good pointed tip. "You probably tried painting when you were seven years old, and had such a horrible experience with that cheap paint brush, you decided you were no good at painting, and never tried it again." Yeah, that could be part of my problem.
|My attempt, after finding a suitable five-petaled model on the internet.|
|I took this photo with my phone yesterday |
so I could study a violet, up close and personal.
Armed with the teacher's suggestions, and one practice painting of violets under my belt, I decided to try to have fun with painting today. I used a photo I had taken the day before, limiting myself to one simple flower. I was pretty happy with my beginner's attempt at a violet.
My breathing almost returned to normal after I signed my name. One day, I hope to be comfortable enough to get out my painting supplies without feeling nervous, and just have fun. My next challenge will be a little harder. I just need to keep a sense of humor when I attempt this one. Painting is supposed to be fun. I may have a new mantra to learn.