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