Having fun with art is something I don't do well these days. I read about so many successful artists (and I mean success in the sense of making a living) that are self-taught, learning from books, DVD's or taking single classes of instruction here and there. I found a year-long online course with artists Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple (I am SO excited) and signed up, something I would have been afraid to do in the past. The first lesson involves line drawing. I completed the first lesson, and found myself muttering, "I stink at this." The lesson reads all over the place that this is about having fun, relax, just go with it, it's not supposed to be perfect...but I still caught my inner critic speaking out loud. When I was to pick a single subject and make multiple attempts at it, I caught myself scrolling up on the screen to see what the instructor's drawings looked like. ACK! Mine don't look like hers at all! I must be doing it wrong. Then I stopped myself and zoomed down the page so that I couldn't see her drawings any longer. Really? I still can't just relax? This is going to take more practice than I thought it would, but I'm up for it. I just need to tape the mouth of the inner critic shut.
I have decided that I'm going to give myself permission to try my hand at something another artist does that inspires me, not to sell it or claim the idea as my own, but to get back in the habit of making stuff. Last week we had another of those crazy wind storms that absolutely trashed my back yard, leaving eucalyptus leaves and branches littered everywhere among the pine cone bombs that came flying down. I remembered seeing pictures of painted individual eucalyptus leaves at bicocacolors.blogspot.com and figured I could have some fun experimenting. I spent a good two hours painting, something I can't remember doing for ages. Now my leaves look nothing like the artist's leaves, but I had focused fun, music blaring, and was happy doing it.
Tomorrow's exercise is to continue without self-criticism.