|Doodles and more doodles. Books of them.|
Somehow I had it in my mind that really good artists could jump in and JUST DO IT. Draw or paint something perfect from their mind the very first time.
That's stupid. 35-year-old me realizes there were a lot of failed attempts and studies along the way...even for the best artists.
I never played with art.
I didn't doodle much. I didn't put brush strokes on a canvas just to see how the paint would behave or try to find new techniques. I thought I should just know. I never tried to copy the styles I admired just to give them a go and twist them to make them my own. I never indulged in fantastical, frivolous images even though I loved them.
Life teaches us over and over that we never "just know" anything. There are gut feelings and instincts that are a big part of everything we do, but everything is also worth questioning an examining.
Play makes us better. I'm 35 and I'm taking time to play.
For the past couple of weeks I've drawn kawaii on my computer, painted with watercolors, sketched with pen and ink. I'm watching tutorials and videos from artists I admire who do the things I love really really well, and I'll certainly jump in and try my hand.
We talk a lot at the university where I teach about asking our students to adopt a growth mindset. People with a growth mindset believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. I've always lived with a growth mindset. I do have that pesky perfectionistic streak that can hold me back at times, but there aren't many things (aside from the way I used to feel about running) that I assume I can't do. I know I can do it better. I can do it my way.
Drawing, painting, and making art is a thing I've done since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I could spend hours at a desk at my grandparents' house drawing page after page. I could spend hours and hours and hours in a half-dark studio in college lost in a canvas and paint. And I let that die. I gave it up almost completely--aside from the very random drawing--for 14 years.
It feels good to play. It feels good to try.