I have always loved art, and painting. It’s calming. It’s creative. And it’s inspiring. I love going to art galleries and getting inspiration for my writing. I love how things in the world inspire my paintings.
A month or so ago I went to a trials training school put on by Ryan Young. Trials is a slow speed sport I compete in, riding motorcycles over obstacles like rocks, logs, and sand. While we were there, he was talking about practicing. How he would practice the same move, over and over, 50,000 times until he got it right. Doing the same move, the same little wheelie over and over until he had it perfected.
It really hit me because practice like that, isn’t fun. I practiced doing the same wheelie for about an hour that day. And even though it was exhilarating that I was finally able to get it, I was completely exhausted. But now that I have that move down, I can move on to harder stuff. And it makes it easier to do the harder stuff. Because I have the basics down.
So many times I look at my art, and my inner critic comes out. It’ll never be good enough for a gallery. You’ll never sell it. No one cares about something like this.
It’s easy to stop doing something we love because we see ‘professionals’ out there doing it, and they do it ‘better’ than us. And forgetting all the ‘experts’ who try to tell us what is good and what isn’t, truly the only difference between an amateur and a professional, is practice. Lots of practice. Lots and lots of practice and determination to master the passion that they have. It may not always be fun. It may not always be easy. But in the end the results make it worth it.
I had to kick myself when I heard these words and had this ‘revelation’. Because it’s something you’ve always known to do. It’s something you should have been doing. But in today’s “I want results now world”, it’s a lot easier to procrastinate and make excuses. I know it. I’m the queen of them.
Which is why I started practicing. I found some cheap canvas boards, got a brush and a tube of paint. That was it. I started doing a picture every day. Just that one canvas, the one brush and the paint. I spent about a half an hour to an hour on each picture. Just painting. Taking my time. Being specific. Working on lines and lettering and control.
And I loved the results. They were so simple, so easy. And yet, the more I practiced, the better I got. The more I was able to shut down my inner critic, and just enjoy what I was doing, no matter what the painting looked like. After the first few, I actually found that I was becoming ADDICTED to practicing. I woke up in the morning ready to practice. Looking forward to it. And it didn’t take much of anything other than a few simple tools and my will to do it.
It’s a simple thing but we make it out to be something that’s so hard. Taking a half an hour a day to do something. Just getting up out of our normal routines and making it happen. It’s something so simple that we know to do. But it’s the hardest thing for me to do.
So I decided to share this web gallery. “One Brush, One Color, One Paint”. I hope you enjoy. I hope it can be an inspiration, because it is to me. How easy and fun practice can be. How easy and fun art can be. How to get the inner critic out of your head and just enjoy what you do.
The funniest thing is that something that what started out as just practice, has turned into practical art. The first painting I did was The Elephant, just working on intricate lines. I had a work party at my boyfriend’s office that night and was showing him what I did, and he was so impressed he showed one of his coworkers, and she loved it so much I gave it to her. It was shocking. Something that had completely been practice to me, but that someone else loved.
The same thing happened with the Life and Love paintings. I had used the quotes because I wanted to work on my lettering skills and I know those quotes almost by heart. It started out as just something to practice, but I loved the finished results so much they are soon going to be framed and hung up in our house.
The other two, Shadows on Snow and Shapes and Shadows, are still looking for a good home.
I’m not done with the “One Brush, One Color, One Canvas” paintings. I’m going to keep practicing, and painting, and seeing what my creative mind can come up with.
Practice isn’t hard. You just have to go do it. And the results are worth it.