We often hear about the need to push ourselves, to step out of our comfort zones, and to do things that are a little bit scary. That’s what I’ve done recently. I gathered my courage, framed a few oil paintings, and bravely entered my work in an art show. I also packed up my soft pastels, my drawing paper, and a few miscellaneous supplies and took part in my first art workshop.
What on earth do I think I’m doing!
That question still nags at me a little bit — it was the same nagging question that hounded me when I wrote my first post for this blog. Was I crazy? Sharing my art with other people?
Of course, I’ve come a long way in the last three years, and — if I say so myself — some of my artwork is good. Some of it, of course, isn’t so good, and to be honest about it, some of my art is downright awful. It’s a learning experience that will last a lifetime.
That’s true even for the most talented artists, I’ve learned. Yesterday morning I chatted on the phone for a bit with Patsy Albers, president of our local fine arts association and first-place winner in our recent members only art show. I’ve admired Patsy’s art since we first met, and I’ll admit to being a bit surprised when she came to the recent pastel workshop. She’s already so talented! While we chatted on the phone yesterday, she mentioned an online workshop she’s eager to sign up for. Again, I was a bit surprised. Patsy’s art is incredible. I can’t see any way it could ever be better.
Workshops, I’ve come to realize, aren’t always all about getting better. It’s awesome to learn new techniques, to have an opportunity to talk about our art with an instructor, and to practice various skills, but even more important is the social aspect, I think.
Where I once felt intimidated being around so many artists, I’m now beginning to feel much more comfortable. I’m getting to know these women — and the few men who attend our meetings. I feel much more at ease now, even when I’m sketching.
In a way, it’s like letting out a breath I’ve been holding. I no longer worry about fitting in or whether or not I belong among the others. I feel more accepted now, that I’m truly a real part of the art community, not just a wannabe tagging along.
And so, after pushing myself forward and doing things that frightened me just a bit, I felt I deserved a little treat. I loved attending the pastel portrait workshop, and I want to do more portraits. I’ve always enjoyed doing portraits, and I do like working with soft pastels. So, why not do more?
Although I have soft pastels, I didn’t have any pastel pencils. At the workshop I saw how useful they can be. Once I got home, I quickly ordered a set. I chose the same brand the instructor, Linda Wisely, had at the workshop, and I can’t wait to use them.
It’s always fun to get new art supplies, and it’s even more fun for me now that I feel I deserve them. Yes, I gave myself a treat. We all need to treat ourselves at times.