So a couple of posts ago I was talking about sucking badly at doing new things. I’m happy to say that I’m not sucking quite so hard anymore. I feel like I still have a long way to go to get where I want to be with painting in general and dotillism specifically. The technique of making dots consistently and having them do what I want is getting a lot easier. When it comes to composition, color, and understanding my medium, I feel like I’ve just barely begun the journey.
Last night I had a bit of an epiphany that made me slam the brakes on the whole process for a minute. I was trying to figure something out about working with acrylic paint. I went online to try to find the answer and found a trove of stuff that I’d basically just leapt past in my excitement about making pretty dot pictures.
Things like, oh I don’t know, basic color theory. I had a total lightbulb moment last night about “blue and yellow make green.” Which is a little embarrassing at this stage in my art game, but there you are. Because it’s not just blue and yellow, it’s actually “which blue with what yellow makes the right green?” I’ll be spending the next week and change mixing paint and filling in boxes and figuring out how to make green, orange and purple. Boring? A little. But also exciting in an exploratory way and still all about the love of creation.
Foundational stuff. Reining in my impulse to leap to the finish (which is my problem with pretty much everything I do in life) and starting at the beginning. Getting to know the medium. Figuring out how to work with it.
In a lot of ways, I did that earlier this year when I retrained as a birth doula. I did it with my jewelry business when I closed it and then re-opened slowly, softly, just doing one thing and taking each step with deliberation.
I thought my word for 2017 was “me” but we’re 7 months in to the year and it seems to be shaping up into something along the lines of “Slow the fuck down and pay attention.” I’m pretty okay with that.
We live in this social media driven world, especially as creative people there’s this constant need to be producing content. Beautiful, finished content. It can make us rush past the fundamentals and try to present this fully realized vision, when in reality we’re still cooking. There’s nothing sexy or particularly marketable about still cooking, is there? How can you maintain a sexy social media presence when you’re still sweaty and in your apron with seven pots boiling at once? Talk about pressure. Y’all know how I feel about “fake it till you make it” (lies!) and I think this is the same thing. The pressure to fake it is strong. It can make us build crappy foundations with paper thin veneers laid over them.
That never holds, does it?
I guess what I’m coming to is this idea that it’s okay to put the brakes on all that and check the foundation. Is it strong? Is it solid? The realization that there’s no shame in taking 3 steps back and fixing the weak spots (or even lighting it on fire and starting over) is… overdue.
You are not the product. You are the process. So relax. Slow the fuck down. Take a deep breath.