Often times I find myself in scenarios when words I have heard in the past come to mind. Phrases, words & stories bubble to the top. Their resurfacing after many years is necessary when a present situation calls upon them to teach again.
A professor I had for a summer painting & drawing class after my freshman year of college said something so powerful to me, even though the sentence was short and sweet, the message rings truer and truer as I continue in my creativity practice and in my visual art.
I was tediously working on a drawing, saving the areas I liked and picking over the areas that were displeasing to me. She leaned over the drawing table and said,
"Don't be too precious with it."
This was contradictory to what I had thought about art work. I thought I had to be precious. I thought it was delicate and tedious. I had worked hard to calm my expressive marks with more refined and realistic strokes and blending.
But I understand now that the marks were not what she was talking about. Nor was she talking about rendering something realistically or abstractly.
She was talking about the layers. The moving of something forward from good to great requires a risky and trusting leap into an unknown layer. A time where you don't know quite what is going to happen, but you have an intuitive inkling that you must go forward.
Most of the time we do not follow that inkling.
Most of the time we are 'too precious with it'.
I notice this in myself most when I am trying to make something something. Instead of listening, letting go of my precious control, and letting that something be the something it is desiring to be.
I run into this situation now regularly with my visual art students. When they do something they like, they desperately want to hold on to it and, often times, they miss the sweetness and the excitement of placing that next layer on top. Yes, it is possible that the next layer could totally ruin the piece. But it is also possible that the next layer could be the one to propel it into greatness or perhaps bring it to a place of dissonance that will then require another problem solving effort, leading to further unknown layers.
It is a wilderness.
It is an adventure.
This week, a moment of synchronicity occurred as I was pondering this post. A friend of mine sent me a surprising message. You see, she had purchased a painting of mine about 5 years ago. A painting that I was close to destroying, I might add, because of my perfectionist tendencies. Anyhow, she rescued it from me, and has treasured it since. She is now employed by a former president of the United States and has proudly hung the painting up in her office. Just down the hall from an Andy Warhol. So, now I can say that me and Warhol are housed under the same roof, right?! This was a fun thing for me to learn, an artist's dream! Not to mention the laugh I had internally as I recalled her begging me not to destroy the piece 6 years ago when I was working on it because she loved it so much! The layers had been a struggle to me, but they spoke to her and they became what they needed to become.
So, I reiterate to you, to myself, to my art students, to anyone seeking to nurture their creativity in any capacity: Don't be too precious with it.
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"Court has a knack for supporting others in tuning into the artist within..."
"If preparing to work with Court you should know that you will be challenged to be your best self and you will be given tools for how to do so.
You may also find yourself realizing dreams and vocations that may have been easier in the short term to keep hidden, but overall will allow you to embrace this creative part of yourself and live more fully." -Faith Josephs