Hello there ! How are you?
For some of us the confinement is finished, but for a lot of people life is still very difficult. Belgium is probably confining again a bit from tonight on…
Difficult times for a lot of people…. Difficult to focus and practice with so much going on.
I try to continue drawing every day…. because
There’s no magic trick to get better in drawing and painting and it’s not about talent. It’s about time to focus and practice.
We all have that inner voice of self-doubt, self-judgment which questions everything we’re doing. Arianna Huffington calls it the “obnoxious roommate in our head”. (I had to look up what that word means: “odiously or disgustingly objectionable : highly offensive“) Love that!
It makes us overthink everything and kills our creativity. It gets a lot of room in my head nowadays as I’m mainly working alone from home.
Do you have that as well?
Evict yours before it fills your day with negative self talk.
We’re our own worst critics, and thus preventing ourselves from being more creative, preventing ourselves from going out of our comfort zones and learning something new… !
It’s also about self compassion and loving ourselves more… letting ourselves make mistakes and ruin a page in our sketchbooks.
No dying person ever regretted to not have cleaned more or spend more time in the office in his life…
“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”
I think it’s mainly my self-criticism who prevents me sometimes to make art. I don’t receive really direct criticism from other people. I think people who don’t like my art don’t bother to criticize. They just don’t show any interest…
I think self-criticism is also preventing me to concentrate when I make art. I’m painting, and suddenly this voice in my had is saying to me “crap! This is crap and ugly. Stop it!” …. It’s distracting me and makes my drawing ugly if I let it happen.
Then I have to force myself to get into the right side of my brain and make my rational left side shut up.
But just as self-criticism is the most merciless kind of criticism and self-compassion the most elusive kind of compassion, self-distraction is the most hazardous kind of distraction, and the most difficult to protect creative work against.
Mary Oliver writes:
It is a silver morning like any other. I am at my desk. Then the phone rings, or someone raps at the door. I am deep in the machinery of my wits. Reluctantly I rise, I answer the phone or I open the door. And the thought which I had in hand, or almost in hand, is gone. Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart — to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.
But just as often, if not more often, the interruption comes not from another but from the self itself, or some other self within the self, that whistles and pounds upon the door panels and tosses itself, splashing, into the pond of meditation. And what does it have to say? That you must phone the dentist, that you are out of mustard, that your uncle Stanley’s birthday is two weeks hence. You react, of course. Then you return to your work, only to find that the imps of idea have fled back into the mist.
Oliver terms this the “intimate interrupter” and cautions that it is far more perilous to creative work than any external distraction, adding:
The world sheds, in the energetic way of an open and communal place, its many greetings, as a world should. What quarrel can there be with that? But that the self can interrupt the self — and does — is a darker and more curious matter.
This text about Mary Oliver comes from the wonderful website “Brainpickings”
PS: I made an autumn color palette ! It has: Potter’s pink (can’t live without), Rouge anglais (Winsor & Newton), Burnt orange (Daniel Smith), Transparant red oxide (DS), Transp. brown oxide (DS), Tiger’s eye genuine (DS), sepia (Schmincke), Titanium buff (DS), Napel’s yellow (Holbein), New Gamboge (Holbein), Natural Sienna Monte Amiata (DS), raw umber (W&N), Burnt Tiger’s eye genuine (DS), Alizarine Crimson (W&N)
Here’s a video I made while I was sketching on my roof.
Tell me if you have any sketching questions I can help you with!
Hi Barbara Love your work and your posts. Any tips for getting that negative voice out of our heads?
Bill Fagan Urban sketchers Chicago. Stay safe.
Hi Bill !
How are you there in Chicago?
I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy some autumn colors and don’t suffer too much from confinement?
Thank you so much for your comment !
What works best with me is sitting down outside and sketching and painting ! That really empties my head and makes all voices go quiet ! How about you?
I love your style and the places you choose to sit and paint. I have learned some tips from you that make my sketchbook paintings more fun and lively. Your comments are so helpful too.
Oh thank you so much dear Carol ❣️ That makes me really happy
Great post, Barbara! I love your paintings/urban sketches and they become even more beautiful in my eyes because you seem like such a positive person with a healthy view on life and a genuine care for other humans. Thank you for being such an inspiration! ♥
I just ordered a Rosemary diagonal brush after seeing your interview over at Art Toolkit. I’ve never had one of those, so I’m looking forward to trying it out.
Thank you so much for sharing your art, your thoughts and tips! Oh, an I love the view from your roof! 🙂
Thank you so much dear Bibi ❣️❤️❣️ enjoy ‼️❣️