Tuesday, March 15, 2011

If I can't be good ....

I went to a watercolor-painting demonstration a while back. I've been painting for a long time - oils, acrylics, watercolors - you name it. I picked up some good tips, but it was only a teaser for a class that would cost $50.00 for four hours of a group lesson.

Which I thought was kind of price-y. I mean, if there's a bunch of people in the class, you're going to get little to no personal attention.

And plus, I took a (more reasonably-priced) series of painting classes a few years back and didn't get a whole lot out of it, because the classes were self-directed, which is not my thing. I need someone to show me what to do.

And basically, the main thing is, I suck at painting. I'm really not very good, at ALL, and it's frustrating the heck out of me, because let's face it, the reason I started painting to begin with is because I looked at some paintings and said, "hell, I could do that!"

Except I couldn't. And I still can't. And I try and I try and I try and while I've turned out a few pieces that aren't too bad (for a twelve-year-old {sheesh}), I'm still pretty sucky.

And I guess it's the perfectionist in me that's saying if I can't be good, I shouldn't even try. Don't even bother.

But I like to paint! Even if I look at what I've done, think, "I could fix that", realize, "No, there's no fix for suck", and toss it, the process itself is still fun. Right up until the end, when I realize how bad the finished product really is. And then I get mad, because, "why can't I be good at this? I really, really want to be good at this - why do I suck so bad?"

I mean, at least I realize I suck. It's not like I'm churning out horrible crap and trying to submit it to art galleries or anything. So where's the harm, right?

Then again, if I can't be good .......... what's the point?

So let me ask you - Is there anything you do just for fun, even though you're not any good at it? Anything you do just for the heck of it, 'cause you enjoy it?

I need some inspiration here!


rockygrace said...

And no, no I won't show you my paintings.

I KNEW you'd ask that.


Badass Nature Girl said...

Damn! That was SO what I was gonna ask, but hun, I do things on a daily basis that I wouldn't be considered good at, but that I enjoy. Singing (I even sent cassette tapes to my friends who wanted them and never heard a word, so what's that tell ya?), belly dancing, ball room dancing, crocheting, hell, just living as a decent person. It's all about the journey and enjoying it that matters more than the destination, or in your case, feeling like you've put out a decent piece of work. Who's to say that we wouldn't look at a piece of your work and state how much we like it? If you try to be perfect, you'll shut down the enjoyment of the process, and my dear, we all need enjoyment wherever we can find it. I say keep going with it, and embrace the inner child that enjoys it and release the adult that criticizes it. You really, really need to read that book The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, even if just parts of it click for you like it did me.

~~Silk said...

Belly Dancing. There's no way I could call me a dancer any more, there are parts of my body that keep doing their own thing long after the rest has stopped, but it's the best thing ever for the back and for boosting self image.

Even if the end result isn't beautiful to your eye, the process is beautiful to your mind. Sufficient reason to do it.

Fish Food said...

I have knitted the same cardigan about four times and then unravelled it at the end, so horrified I am at the final creation. But I enjoy knitting.

I really agree with the ladies here, esp ~~Silk's last paragraph...

"Even if the end result isn't beautiful to your eye, the process is beautiful to your mind. Sufficient reason to do it."

Yup, sounds eminently sensible to me!

Fish Food said...

And I want to see your paintings!

Anonymous said...

A lot of what I knit (like Fish Food said) ends up being given away to charity or unraveled because I hate it. I still learn from and enjoy the process, though. By the way, the people who are good at painting (and lots of other stuff) generally did not get that way without painting a ton of crap. Even the stuff I'm good at requires that I produce a lot of crap first.

If I might make a suggestion, maybe you can find a group of people who enjoy painting and get together to paint. Meetup.com might have something like that. You wouldn't have to pay for a class, but you could be exposed to people who know more than you do and could show you how to do stuff.

rockygrace said...

Okay, guys, you've given me an excuse to keep painting. Thanks!

And thinking about it, I do LOTS of stuff half-assed, most noticeably home repairs. So why should painting be an exception? :)

Oh, and guess what it's doing here today? RAINING. I think maybe instead of painting, I should be building an ark.

Laura said...

I sing. I sketch. I make conversation.

I suck at all that stuff, but I'm not stopping.