As I mentioned in “Hello Sketchbook, My Old Friend,” I’ve been taking Laure Ferlita’s An Imaginary Visit to a Past Vacation class. Not for the first time, I noticed I’m learning more in art class than simply how to sketch—I’m learning lessons that easily expand beyond the art studio. As in art, so in life:
Preparation makes everything easier… Laure encouraged us to do thumbnails (quick sketches in a junk journal to figure out placement of images and lettering). Before starting a sketch, I made sure I had my palette, full waterbrushes, paper towels and tissues, my color chart, my reference photos, and a scrap piece of watercolor paper if I needed a quick color check. Once I started, I didn’t want to have to stop to hunt something down. This is also a good way to approach new projects and experiences: figure out what resources you need to have before you get started so that you can proceed smoothly.
…but sooner or later, I have to start. I sometimes let myself get stuck in preparation mode, forever putting off action. Facing a blank page in my sketchbook feels remarkably like facing decisions or starting major projects. Once that first mark hits the page—or I take that first action—I usually relax and can continue without too much fuss and bother.
I’m often my harshest critic. I was pretty happy with my sketches in this class, but in previous classes, I have been frankly embarrassed to share my work. I could see only the flaws in it, how it wasn’t what I wanted it to be, and how (I felt) it wasn’t as good as everyone else’s. My fellow classmates always found something good to say, and ways to encourage me not to give up. When I comment on my classmates’ art, I always look for something specific that I like about it, and I can always find it. I should be so generous with myself! I have a feeling my art isn’t the only area where I’m much harder on myself than is necessary.
As always, I had a great time in Laure’s class, and was able to take away more than just the beginnings of a new sketchbook. I still have one more assignment to complete, so excuse me while I get ready, get started, and ease up on myself.