Here’s what happens to me. I carve out a special time to get out and do some art. Usually drawing. I might even go to a special place to draw, some place that inspires me on some level. When I get there though, I often get stuck and wander around like a last minute shopper on Christmas Eve. How do I decide what, in this special place, is good enough to draw?
Maybe, I need to stop and ask myself if I’m just too intimidated by my one expectations of the place and event. Do I really feel like nothing is good enough to sit and draw, or do I ACTUALLY feel like I’m just not good enough to draw anything? The lesson I’m learning over and over this year is that facing fears leads to growth. Make the tough choice. Fill out the application. Teach the class. Embrace failure. When I worry about special perfection, or even success those thoughts seem to cause failure far more frequently than actual failure does. I don’t know why I like the sound of something causing failure more often than failure, but I do.
While I love still lifes for practicing techniques, and focusing on setting up different compositions filled with many shapes and textures, my relationships are rarely made with things that don’t move. Even especially warm memories of a particular nick-knack likely has a human element to the memory. So if I’m going to do the work that’s meaningful to my whole self then I need to get out of the studio and draw living, MOVING things.
Drawing animals from life is pretty intimidating. They move and my perspective on them is constantly changing. Something I’m coming to realize as I sit and quietly observe them in my sketchbook though, is that this also gives me an opportunity. I’m given a chance to form a relationship between me, the animal, my sketchbook, and the drawings. I learn things about them by having to draw four versions of them at once as fast as I can, while filling details in while I wait for my next opportunity to see what I missed.
It doesn’t have to be one, perfect image. Actually, I think it shouldn’t be that. That’s what cameras are for, and how they are often used. To take that one image that requires no thought or shared experience. Drawing Animals from life is meditative. As I wait and watch them moving around, I can make many incomplete drawings and embrace inperfection.