Tuesday, March 28, 2017

It’s All About the Journey

This statement “It’s all about the journey,” is ringing more true for me all the time. The subject doesn’t matter. It’s all about the journey of getting through it (whatever “it” is in the moment) and my thoughts around it: From the trips, to emotional life dealings, art, photography, and writing. Then again, it makes total sense. After all, life is a journey no matter how many detours are taken.

“It’s all about the journey” has been being said for a long time, but there’s a difference between making the statement and actually feeling like you live it. I LIVE IT! It’s the difference between knowing something logically and feeling it as truth throughout your entire being. That doesn’t mean your mind or your direction can’t change; it’s that, at this moment it is so. It doesn’t mean learning doesn’t continue. For me, the journey has become every aspect of my life … and it’s exciting. 

I was surprised to realize there are similarities in the journeys. For instance, how I am when I’m traveling has some sameness in how I work on a painting. I know, sounds weird. It has to do with emotions. I FEEL my way through everything and that sixth sense can be just as strong as the others and shouldn’t be ignored. 

Today my thoughts are around my art. My mind is always questioning and exploring. Last week someone said, “Take a class with (so and so) because he’s a good teacher.” She also named other teachers. Was this a subtle put-down of my art? Was she saying she didn’t think I was good enough and I need “proper” training? 

Personally, I didn’t get that vibe from her, but it did make me wonder. I’ve heard other artists touting this teacher and that. Does that mean they don’t think they’re good enough so they need to continue taking classes? Is taking a class the excuse to do some art? And, yes, of course, you can always learn something.

This is what I love about life, though. We don’t all have to do things the same way. We find what works for us as individuals. There are those who want to get better at what they do by taking classes. Others go way out on a limb and work outside the norm, and yet some quietly find their own way. 

For me, it’s important to follow my feelings and find my own techniques and style. I might do something similar to someone else, but it’s by my terms. My journey is the diving right into work. I’m not into practice sessions which I find tedious and boring. Work is the practice as life is work/practice. Each painting is its own journey and part of my enjoyment is the surprise of discovery (and I’m always surprised there continues to be many surprises). 

The biggest surprise is just in what I see. No matter how much I look at the photograph, using it as a guideline to the drawing, I miss things. The next time I return to the easel, I’ll notice more. (I am reminded of the old adage “Can’t see the forest through the trees.) Or, if I take a photo of the drawing and post it on Facebook to show my progress, I’ll see something to adjust. I take these instances as little exciting discoveries. 

"Along the Creek" was one of those photos where I kept
noticing things. This turned out to be one of my favorites.
Every time I think, “I got this!” something comes along to throw a wrench into the process. Sometimes it’s something simple, something I should have known. Other times it’s stepping out onto the ice and having it break. I fall in, get wet, but make it to shore to dry myself off and continue. Sometimes I can get there from here and other times a re-route is necessary. The end result is always amazing and I look back over the journey with relief and joy at the accomplishment.

This doesn’t mean I do everything on my own. I look up information online and talk to other people and other artists. I don’t take every piece of advice, but I listen, contemplate, and figure out what works best for me and the painting. 

So, I don’t take a lot of classes. I don’t study a lot of other artists’ styles. My learning is through the journey. This is my joy, my treasure hunt, and I have been very happy with the results.

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