I've recently started drawing again; something I hadn't done since I was in school. It started out with a doodle of my dog, and kind of took off from there.
Anyway.. one thing led to another, as things often do, and I found myself in an online art class called "Art, Heart and Healing" taught by Tamara Laporte. I was interested in learning technique mostly, so I watched the first videos last night and set out to start the first lesson today.
This lesson is an art journal spread that is also a healing exercise, meant to exorcise the voice inside us that whispers negative messages in our ears. You begin by listing all of the things that voice whispers to you about yourself on one side of the journal spread, and then symbolically clear them from your life by gessoing over them and creating something beautiful in the clean space they formerly occupied. Not, however, before you ponder them.
This alone was cathartic. You may think that you have dealt with that voice and those messages. Maybe you have. I, however, have not. Not completely, anyway. The messages have changed, but they are still there. When I took pencil in hand, there was barely a pause before I began to fill up the page with the many ways in which I am inadequate, not good enough, not enough.
In the next part of the exercise, Tamara tells us that this voice in our heads is there to help us, although it doesn't go about it in a terribly healthy way. She asks us to look at our lists... to let those items sink in, and to think about what positive thing the misguided voice may be trying to do for us by supplying us with those hurtful messages. Perhaps, she explains, it is trying to prevent us from being hurt by others. Perhaps it is trying to help us to be accepted by others. You need to figure out what your voice is trying to do for you.
This is something I had never considered before. Wow. Kind of mind blowing, now that I think about it. Have I been my own helicopter mom, hovering over me and saying "Don't get hurt!" and holding me back from living as fully as I could be?
I gesso over the page; relieved to see the damning list of my shortcomings vanish under my brush. Whew! There's the hard part of the lesson over. Or so I thought.....
I started out great; drawing the required self-representation. When I get to the nose, I refer back to the video to see how Tamara did it. That's okay - I'm here to learn how to draw. The mistake I make is that I keep re-watching the video, trying to make my picture like Tamara's. It's not. I have failed again. I can't get the shading like she does it. I can't get the color saturation that she has. I don't have that exact same color that SHE has. Crap! This was supposed to be the fun part! Aha. Picture a light bulb illuminating over my head. I am the one sucking the fun out of this by trying to do it like someone else does it. That makes it stressful and predestines me to failure. I can't do it like someone else does it. I can only do it like I do it.
Did I finish the exercise? No. I had to put it away because I was stressed and unhappy and I needed time to process this lesson within a lesson. Sigh. I'll finish it soon, this time NOT watching the video while I paint,; instead, letting myself experience the freedom that comes with SELF expression. This art class is stripping away junk I thought I had already gotten rid of. It's kind of an exfoliation of the soul. Which hopefully will leave me with a refreshed, rosy pink soul once I finish. One can only hope.