Monday, February 25, 2008

Try, Try Again or Get A Reality Check

I love learning. I like to see new things, hear new things, do new things, and meet new people. At the same time I find comfort in my cozy, cottage home and my truest friends. I love muted, soft, pastel, colors and soft bunnies and soft colored roses and soft fabrics. When I was little, I loved to wear my pale pink, soft pajama's with roses on them, sleep under a quilt and rub the satin ear of my stuffed bunny as I fell asleep. I'm torn between the old and the new.

Every year I attend a quilt festival in Virginia. It's incredible! A plethora of textiles, fibers and artistic works. As always, I love to take a class and learn something new and exciting. This year I took a class called "flower doodles." It was wonderful. Our instructor, Susan Edmondson, was fabulous. She brought many pieces of her "flower doodle" works (that's a picture of her work above), but also brought many of her textile collage pieces. While I loved and appreciated her "flower doodle" work, it was the collage pieces that I couldn't stop drooling over. They were spectacular! I found myself lost in every intricate detail.

The "flower doodles" class consisted of using wax pastels and painting with them on fabric. Then using the sewing machine to "thread paint" the designs. It was a very fun class and I loved the concept. However, for years I have been trying to paint. For years my best friend, Beth, has said, "Shell, you stink at painting." She's right. Yet, I keep trying and trying and trying. I thought I could do it this time because it was basically "coloring" with crayon like things and mushing it together with paintbrushes and textile medium. How hard could it be? Apparently, looking at my piece, very hard. Then again, I wonder if it's because I'm always hopping all over the place trying so many new things that I don't learn to master a few things. What's the saying? A Jack of all trades and a master of none? Our instructor said something that kind of hit me. She was talking about her work and how it evolved. She said, "you try many things and then one day you just find your niche and you don't worry about any of the other stuff anymore." I felt she was talking to me. "Shell, you stink at painting, give it up." The hyper, over-achiever part of me refuses to give in, while the girl at age 40 still loves and treasures the things she loved at 5.

So, do I try, try again or get a reality check and realize that while I may not be good with paint, I am good with textures, fabrics, fibers and color? That I am good at layering them all together to create my own kind of art, my own niche. Almost all my favorite artists focus on one thing. They don't hop all along the bunny trail trying to make stuff that is not them. They create from their heart. They sing their own song and dance their own dance. They paint when they know they stink at sewing and they sew when they stink at painting. Yet, each and every one of them gives a gift and a piece of beauty to this earth.

Dag, I just had my reality check.

Have a great week and hugs to you all.


This week, IGF my best friend, Beth, for always being my best friend and my ability to see the writing on the wall even if it is covered with paint.


Susan Tuttle said...

I think the answer is to do what you love, and follow your heart, as you said. If that means dabbling in many things, than do that. If it feels right to focus on one thing, then do that. If you are dying to paint, then paint. Each person sings a different heart song - the thing is to follow our own tune.


Anonymous said...

i agree with may even start something that isn't any fun or you don't feel that you're any good at and then all of a sudden that curiosity or initial interest leads you in a direction that you may have never dreamt of. you also may be much better than you think.

i hope it's ok that i'm commenting, i wandered here after seeing your bunnies on bunspace. i look forward to coming back and reading more. but i wanted to share this with you.... i've put down my camera for years at a time. a couple of years ago i started photographing my bunnies. now it's a total obsession....take a look sometime if you ever need some cheering up, i refer to it as a side effect free antidepressant.

"alice" fats's devoted servant

Lady Hannah Goldenhare - Nothing Gold Can Stay

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