In the summer holidays our family went to a small village called Holt in north Norfolk, UK. Holt is a beautiful small town well known for its art. It’s got plenty of small – and large – galleries that sell art, and a rather splendid art supplies shop too. I was pretty happy in that particular shop, and I even bought myself a couple of tubes of watercolour paint and a pencil. Yup, a pencil. Probably the first time I have ever bought a pencil for myself – a real proper one, a lovely graphite 2B pencil by Staedtler. Oh what joy there is in drawing with a decent pencil!
Anyway, my husband and I had always thought it would be lovely to treat ourselves to some proper art for our home. We looked through some of the shops – holding onto our children really tightly and reminding them NOT to touch the paintings that were worth hundreds of pounds! Then we found some almost affordable paintings we really liked. Then we had a discussion (slightly heated!) about money and whether we could afford to buy ourselves a treat. I said no, he said yes. The use of a credit card and a far, far away payment deadline was kind of discussed.
The paintings were bought.
When my mum saw them in our home, she said that they were indeed lovely paintings but that I (i.e. me, her daughter!) could no doubt manage to paint something as good. WHAT??? I thought. No way. I can’t paint. I’d love to be able to paint, but I can’t. I can’t even really draw.
I was touched though by my mum’s complete and utter faith in my abilities. On reflection I felt as if my mum was saying that if I wanted to do this enough then I could do it. I thought about my own daughter and wondered… How would I feel if sometime in the future she said, ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I’m not good enough to do that’? It would probably make me feel somewhat saddened, and possibly outraged that she had come to this conclusion about her own abilities, so quickly, and without giving herself a little time to try, with a little gentleness towards her own dreams. I would then tell her that I disagreed – wholeheartedly – because I believe she can do anything she wants to do. But I’d most likely add that if she really wants to become skilled at something, then she has to want it enough to put the time in to practise.
I want to be able to paint. So I made a start and thought ‘wow, making this look the way I want it to look is hard!’.
So I got to thinking about my own artistic goals and I came to the conclusion that I have to go back to basics. I have to learn to draw first. I have my own style of learning (don’t we all?) and so I fell back on my tried and tested technique of learning: 1. go to the library 2. get a couple of books out on the subject in mind (drawing in this case) 3. read them, do the exercises inside them 4. practise and reassess
I’ve also now learnt the importance of getting a couple of books out, because I now understand that there will be books out there by authors whose style of teaching won’t suit me. And that will result in me being an unhappy student!
The first book to catch my eye was: Get Started in Drawing by Robin Capon
At the bottom is says: ANYONE CAN DRAW WELL
I don’t tend to like these kind of generalised statements, but anyway I thought I’d give it a go. If only to prove the author wrong.
Well, dear reader, I loved the book and thoroughly enjoyed doing some of the exercises. So do ‘stay tuned’ if you are in any way a teensy, weensy bit interested in my progress.
Coming soon(ish!): (part 2 – a little progress?)
and p.s. no I haven’t given up on writing, I’m just busy getting rejections at the moment and need a little time to re-group.