I know the month of May is not over yet, but in the last few days I haven’t even bothered to attempt the day’s sketching prompt. I knew that doing EDIM would be a challenge – not because I find it hard to sketch every day (I do that naturally 6 days a week) but because of the pressure a list creates. If you missed if, I wrote about some of the ups and downs of a monthly project here.
I have had a few good days – sketching my bristle brushes, sketching my tree and finally getting around to sketch my chandelier (which I haven’t thrown out yet!) But other days I have been disappointed to the point of not bothering to scan and share. They are not that bad, but just don’t do it for me. I would prefer to put the scanning and posting time into doing another sketch of the same subject that I am more happy with!
What has happened this month hasn’t surprised me much, but what I have enjoyed is the illuminating thoughts I have had as a result. If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I THINK a lot about my art. I am always asking myself why? or how? or what next? I have had a light bulb moment thinking about my disappointing EDiM attempts and as often with one of these ‘ding’ moments, they seem obvious afterwards…but for some reason the re-application of old truths to new situations make them seem like new truths. It is the spiral in action again!
So what has been going on?
Basically, some days my heart was not in it. Why? I was uninspired by the subject matter or I didn’t have the time and rushed it. I was pushing myself to do it.
But why was this a problem?
I often sketch things that seem to be uninspiring (refer to yesterday’s post on everyday (ugly) scenes) but once I get into it am very glad that I persevered. I think this one of the GREAT benefits of the EDiM challenge. Being pushed to do something is often VERY good – you never really progress unless you push yourself.
I often sketch in a limited timeframe – I often attempt sketches on occasions when I really do not have the time to do it justice and often these become my favourite sketches. (more on this on Why Bother: Part 2)
And just to throw a third situation into the mix, I often sit at home wanting to sketch and not exactly sure what to use as my subject matter.
I mentioned yesterday that having a meaningful reason to sketch something was important to me. I am much less motivated to sketch a random object that has nothing to do with my day … but I have realised that this is not just the biggest factor.
The major issue, I have decided is that I need to be motivated to respond.
My motivation can be one of the following
1. Seeing something that captures my eye and having the urge to sketch. This is why I am so much more inspired when I am out – I see things everything that I want to sketch.
2. Having the urge to paint, to try out a new tool/media or to try a new technique. The subject matter is secondary to what I really want to do…just play.
3. Giving myself the time to become motivated and engaged during the process. Taking the time to think and observe the object WILL nearly always result in finding something to inspire me and my sketch.
I need one of these three to make it worth bothering! Some days with EDiM I have forced myself to do it because I ‘had to’. Even when I thought I had chosen the object that answered the challenge in a way that I thought made it me.
A few examples:
I have sketched my Lamy JOY many times but always with a reason for doing so. There is no need to connect with this object (ha ha), but on this occasion I was drawing with watersoluble ink. And having a new pen to draw was fun.
And finally a sketch from last week that I haven’t posted. I did this sketch purely because I wanted to test out a new brush. Didn’t have decent paper on hand or an inspired subject matter
BIG NOTE: If you are a beginner, I do think that you need to push more than a seasoned sketcher does. You are still in the process of learning the basics and developing your technique, but I still think having one of the three types of motivation should be present and will help you overcome your frustration with your ‘lack’ of skill… but perhaps number 3 (time!) is the most important.
A list to work from can be a great thing and especially when other people are working from it as well. Looking at the work produced this month is very inspiring!
Take time to look at your subject, ask yourself what is it about this subject that appeals to you, what are the shapes, what is the lighting doing. The more you get excited about the subject the more it will help your sketch. It WILL come through in the end result and despite the parts that you are not happy with, you will enjoy the process much more which will motivate you to try it again…soon.
Don’t just think “I have to draw an apron today” but instead “Here is an apron, what is it that is important to me, what is it I want to record?” Ah! this is problem, I have been too object based without a message!
Ok! that is enough for today. How are you going with EDiM? What are your thoughts about pushing yourself – when is it worth it and when(if ever) are you flogging a dead house?
I can’t help wondering whether writing all this down will give myself a boost to finish off the month with a flurry! Sometimes when I take the pressure off, my output goes through the roof. Here’s hoping!
and remember… whatever you do, don’t take art too seriously – make sure that you have fun!