This morning I woke up wanting to draw a portrait of a girl I know, and use all sepia tones. I screwed up almost immediately. It’s been a bad week for portraits. Every one I draw winds up looking somewhat human but not like the particular human I want it to.
On Monday, when I led an all ages art session, I invited a woman to join us. She does NOT do art. I said art helps us face our limitations and move forward. She said, facing limitations is not my idea of fun.
Mine either. And yet I keep dreaming up new ways to face them.
With today’s debacle, I began to wonder if I should even keep trying to draw people. There are so many other easier things to draw — the faces of animals and flowers are almost as intriguing as the human face, and they are challenging, but not so much as people. But I really want to draw people. I love the many gestures and expressions I see in faces. I see faces in wood grain and in sidewalk cracks.
I took a break, rested my eyes. I decided since I’d already failed at what I envisioned, I’d play with the sepia paint. I flooded the paper, let it buckle, dropped in gold and violet and red fuchsite. Paint pooled and ran. As I did, I began to see the piece in a different light. My wonky limits are still visible, but something more has emerged. And, to my surprise, I like it. It’s by no mean a great work, but it speaks to me.
And that’s the fun and the value of art. It allows you a way of revising and re-evaluating what you’re doing. You HAVE to work with your mistakes because no one is perfect, though many works of art seem perfect. For those works, the artist persisted with her imperfections and kept learning and growing.
If I let my mistakes stop me, I will never know where the next mistake is going to lead.
I’m drawing daily to help manage depression, long-term disability, and life in general. If you’d like to see the beginning of this project, you can see it here. You can also follow me through WordPress or on Facebook.
Your thoughts and shares are appreciated.