Attack of the Shoulds #1, Mixed media

Attack of the Shoulds #1, Mixed media

Sunday I got into one of those funks where no matter what I was doing I felt like I should be doing something else. It was a beautiful day: I should be out painting plein air. But there were paintings in progress in the studio that were calling to me. And then there were shoulds about the medium to use: I should be painting in oil, no acrylic, no watercolor…I was driving myself nuts!

So I sat myself down at the drawing table and just started writing  in my sketchbook journal all the shoulds I was hearing in my mind (but who was saying them–aren’t I the only one in there?). When all else fails I default to flowers. I picked a hibiscus, stuck it in a little bottle and started sketching. I got it wrong. I drew with a pen dipped in ink, I added wax crayon, watercolor crayon, rubbed it with a paper towel, rubber stamps, more ink, more crayon, and just kept angrily abusing the page, trying to dump the shoulds.

Attack of the Shoulds #2, Ink and watercolor

Attack of the Shoulds #2, Ink and watercolor

I wrote on the page: “Accept that it is all impossible.It will be wrong. It will be bad. It is pointless. And do it anyway. Because you can. And doing it badly is better than not doing it. Break the cycle. Stop the nonsense!” When there was nothing more to do the first page spread I started on the next, feeling freer. I tackled the hibiscus again, and did #2 above.

Attack of the Shoulds #3, watercolor and ink

Attack of the Shoulds #3, watercolor and ink

For #3 above, I sketched with pencil, added watercolor and then outlined everything afterwards with a Pitt Sepia F pen.

Attack of the Shoulds #4, ink & watercolor

Attack of the Shoulds #4, ink & watercolor

It was almost time to go to a dinner party but I squeezed in one more, which I mucked up a bit with too heavy outlining so added some fun scribbly white pen. The good news is that I did break the cycle, got over the shoulds and got back to having fun in the studio today.

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Category:
Drawing, Flower Art, Glass, Ink and watercolor wash, Life in general, Painting, Sketchbook Pages, Still Life
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Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. Fabulous post, I love all the hibiscus drawings, and the fact that you “attacked” the flower subject again and again. They are all different from each other, very interesting series. 🙂

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  2. Interesting that you call this the attack of the “shoulds”. I have often said that life would be better if there were no such as should. Think about it. Even when you are just talking to yourself, it implies a judgment that what you are doing is not what you ought to be doing. Most people do not respond well to being told that they “should” do something. I’m glad you beat it down.

    Attack of the Shoulds #2 is my favorite.

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  3. oops to the above…of course I meant “no such WORD” as should.

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  4. You are such an inspiration. I love that you share your fears with us and then work through them. I wish I could pinpoint the time when I stopped being fearless.

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  5. Splendid and fun post and such interesting Hibicus. A great lessons for all of us here on how to attack the SHOULDS– now if we’d just APPLY IT 🙂
    annie

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  6. It is very interesting to read how you approached each painting. All your different techniques are an inspiration. I love all of the results. JANA

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  7. These are all fine works. I like the #1 best. Why worry if you were down? At least it shows you how much you care. And then: why exile black moods from painting? Artists do get down. What would we lose if we only had Van Gogh with two healthy ears and no bandage around his chin?

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  8. Ugh – hate those ‘Should Attacks’, but you found a great solution Jana – thanks for showing us your positive response.

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