The Art of Practice – Tip #8

Today’s tip is one of the best, I think.


ResistanceIt is not going away, ever. Don’t fight against it. Starve it, and watch it wither away. Most creative journeys are clumsy at the beginning, so anything worth doing is worth starting poorly. Start again, and again.

I’m not sure of the way this tip is worded, but I think I understand the principles involved here. For me, it says that things aren’t always going to go our way.

One of the most important things I’ve learned through my experiences in art is that I’m always going to have good days and not-so-good days. Sometimes drawing and painting almost come easily for me; other times, every line and every brushstroke is an ordeal.

Time after time, I conjure up creative visions of what I want to put on a canvas. The results fall so far short of my vision that — at times — I simply want to hide under the bedcovers and cry. Sometimes, though, instead of crying, I just wipe away the mess and turn the painting into something different, something I never envisioned.

Over these last couple of years, I’ve learned that the idea of disillusionment preceding enlightenment really is true. Now, when those discouraging moments come and nothing I do produces the results I want, I don’t let those feelings get me down. Not too much, at least. Instead, I take a deep breath and know that once I get through that bleak time, I will begin to see a great leap forward with my art.

What happens, I believe, is that our brains absorb a lot of knowledge and understanding, thereby increasing our expectations. It takes a while, though, for our technical abilities to catch up with the knowledge in our heads. That means a time of disappointment, frustration, and feeling inadequate. I think that is what today’s tip means by resistance.

So, I no longer get too upset when I feel resistance. I know I will have lots of clumsy moments. And yes, from time to time, I will hear the voice of Miss Crabapple, my cranky art teacher. I’ve learned to ignore her.

That’s what today’s tip is telling me. Ignore resistance. As the tip says, starve it and watch it wither away.



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