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Stop apologising and don’t make excuses.

I’m driving myself a little bit bats here scrolling through my Twitter feed for a link to a story I read some days ago. Good luck! Where and when was it? Whatever it was, it meant something and stuck to me.

The gist: This guy remembers his art teaching supply teacher telling him to not apologise for a crappy coil pot the poor kid made. I’m sure if I Googled that tangle of words, it would lead me where I wanted to be. The teacher stand-in then tells the kid to go back and improve his work. Don’t apologise. Don’t make excuses. By doing this, you’re trying to get a dishonest response from the person you’re apologising to. ‘Oh, it’s not that bad.’ Save yourselves this dance. Make it. Offer it. Say nothing. The end. Not entirely earth shattering but a good message to link to something else I read recently. 

I followed a rabbit trail to find this by Cheryl Strayed Just do it like a motherfucker on Sarah Wilson’s blog. In short, a tortured young writer composes a letter (practically bleeding all over the pages, such is the intensity of the thing) to agony aunt Cheryl Strayed. It feels wrong to sandwich Cheryl between those two words as she has achieved achieved achieved amazing literary things, one of which became a movie that has also made its mark in my brain. Cheryl tells the girl to write. Just get it done. If the girl has belief enough to know she has a good book within her then her only course of action is to write. And write. Then do some more writing. Followed with…ok. You get the point.

So with these two articles in mind, I was shaken out of my funk and have stepped forward with some vague way to keep on keepin on. 

First: Create something. Every day. Draw. Paint. Write. Draw with biro. Write with marker. Paint whilst L naps. Draw on Christmas cards while watching Inside Out and shifting between laughing and crying because that’s what that movie does to you.

And then: Don’t apologise. So what if it’s shit and makes me cringe and not want to share. How am I supposed to improve if I don’t make a thousand mistakes. No. Not mistakes. Attempts. At least I’m attempting. And improving. And finding my way.

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100 days of things

This artwork above is my attempt at acrylic. It’s been years since I’ve dabbled. And it’s obvious. I haven’t worked with the medium much since university and quite bizarrely, I ventured back into my colour comfort zone with this piece. Purple and yellow. I tried to influence myself by looking at a colour palette I thought interesting, but my brain and hand thought otherwise.

So. Another person attempting a goal of days to get things done. I have been inspired by my friend and fellow artist, Rhiannon Connelly. She created small paintings, giving herself 30 minutes to complete. My attempt is less strict, any medium, any length of time. Even doodles on cards are acceptable.

And that’s me done. Tiny L is summoning me from the end of her nap.

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Quick on the draw

Not much time for art working this week. The small one is down with a bad cold so have been trying to steal a few minutes between chores during her nap to create something.  Small, postcard size work seems to be the ticket.

I sometimes wonder if I need to change the way that I work. A massive overhaul. I struggle lately to create anything time-consuming or things that require several steps. Half finished work leaves me feeling…

And so. Trying, as ever, to live a workable life. 

(A shame about the dive-bombing bird streak in the first image.)

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Wait. For. It.

An assault of spritzing. That’s the kind of rain we’ve been experiencing. It’s somehow both enjoyable and incredibly annoying. As I was trying to nonchalantly go about the business of being, I saw this gorgeous rainbow spanning the built up horizon. Glorious. The position of the light and the glowing ‘wait’ made for a terrific little composition.

There is a good little message in here, too. Wait. Wait in that moment where you find yourself. Wait and watch the rainbow fade, the light change, the traffic move. Wait and see the people around you.

Lately it’s felt quite heavy here. I wonder how people are able to move with the weight of all the shit they must be carrying with them in their lives. Some days it feels like I’m trying to push up through a blanket of treacle, but not as sweet. But then I catch myself caught up in a beautiful moment… like the one featured above, or seeing the light shine on a curl of Lottie’s hair, or seeing a beautiful piece of artwork, or hearing a song on the radio that stills me, and I think ‘My life is very full.’ It’s full of kindness and beauty. 

The thing about making art is that it locks you into a moment. And drawing from what you are experiencing makes you experience it more intensely. Perhaps I should pick up my pens again and reconnect firmly to my present.