Summer is here!

With the summer comes an air of liberty, excitement and restlessness of Fomo (fear of missing out) : I’m finishing some deadlines in the office and planning what to do this summer, like preparing for the urban sketching symposium in Porto 🙂 … You can read more about the symposium here:

There’s always so much I want to do in the summer! The perfectionist in me is crying out that I have to prepare everything well so I can use my time wisely, not to miss anything, to make A LOT of GOOD drawings, start to write my drawing book, be efficient ! That makes me so exhausted that I end up in the couch on a free day, reading self help books! OMG! That’s the resistance pulling me down and preventing me from being creative. The resistance is the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, don’t show up, hide your ugly drawing, don’t make a fool of yourself, go slow, compromise…. The resistance is writer’s block, the resistance is what prevented you staying an artist when you grew up.

There are several tricks to quiet your lizard brain. Seth Godin writes well about this in his book “The Linchpin”, and on his blog

Going on an Artist date is always bringing back some peace of mind and inspiration and makes my left brain keep quiet. (Julia Cameron writes well about this)

An artist date is a joy ride to your inspiration. It can be anything that will inspire your inner artist: like going walking in the forest, going to an art supply shop, going to a museum, to a philosophy conference,…

Isn’t it all about joy and feeling happy? What date could make with the inner artist in yourself to make her happy this summer? This is the true richness of life.

Beauty is a promise of happiness. It’s about “Joie de vivre”! Where do you find beauty and inspiration? Drawing is about learning how to look at things and find beauty everywhere. As you look to an object when you draw, try to take note of what the mental state of drawing feels like: the loss of sense of time and the sense of amazement at the beauty of what you see.

The other day I gave an initiation course in urban sketching, and a lady told me she’ll come back when she can draw… that made me so sad! She looked so desperate and stressed. There was no joy or fun any more… I felt a bit lost about how I could help? We are often too hard on ourselves, and also on others. I regularly remind myself a beautiful phrase about generousity I read on generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.”

Let’s also be generous to ourselves. Talk to yourself like you talk to your best friend. Why do we beat ourselves up? Who’s judging? Nobody but yourself. (and some nasty people who are not worth your attention) Let’s just help each other forward. What causes such pain and shame? Getting stuck int the quality hack isn’t creating joy, inspiration or progress… What is beauty anyway? Who is deciding what is quality? Of course it’s interesting to want to get better at something and do the necessary work for that, but don’t let it take your joy away. Just do your best and keep moving. Don’t let perfectionism kill your creativity.

Some tips here if the energy level is low but you want to progress: Go on an artist date to get yourself fired up, and grab you sketchbook and pen and do some thumbnail (small) drawings and play with color. Lately I do almost all my drawings with ballpoint pen because it stops me in my perfectionism: I can’t erase! I used to get hopeless when there was a window missing in my drawing, and now, thanks to the ballpoint pen, I got over it! I even don’t mind any more if my perspective isn’t correct.

What could you do to make yourself progress, without perfectionism?

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