I was working with aÂ preteen recently who was very reluctant to bring anything to her private lesson that she considered “unfinished” or “not very good”.Â I had planned to base ourÂ two sessions together on her works-in-progress,Â keying my instruction on any challenges she was having or opportunities I saw toÂ expose her toÂ new techniques, materials or methods.Â Â
Â It occurred to me that her reluctance was due to the fact that she had an established reputation among her peers and adults in her life as being a talented artist, evenÂ precocious.Â A wonderful gift to have talent, of course,Â but a burden to live up to expectations.Â So at the vulnerable age of 12, she is already experiencing limiting behavior.Â Doesn’t this happen to most of us?Â We do something well (this could be in any category)Â then think we have to always do it to that standard, or we aren’t ok and somehow let others down.Â What an unnecessary burden, and one that limits our thinking, our experience, and, more importantly,Â our possibilities for discovery and growth.
My insight made sense to her.Â Â A suggestion I made wasÂ - do lots of sketches, especially gesture drawings,Â as opposed to finished drawings.Â Gesture drawings are doneÂ very quickly with an intent to capture the essence of the subject.Â Â They areÂ visual note takingÂ in the form ofÂ scribbly drawings, and these notes provide more information to the artist than to anyone else who looks at them.Â Since they are meant only as notes, they are lessÂ open for judgement.Â Â We can safely protect our ego while building a wonderful skill , because gesture drawing trains the eye to trust the hand.Â Â As more trust develops, the marks on the paper will be moreÂ fluid and confident.
Attachment to outcome, built on expectations, obscures our connection with the process and takes us out of the present moment.Â We are left too much in our head, dwelling on expectations, whether our own or others.Â We’ve all heard the “Let Go” mantra, and forÂ good reason.Â It is simple, but health giving.Â Active involvement in the processÂ will lead to good work in the end.Â
Add comment August 16th, 2006