Friday, January 11, 2013

art lessons on life : erasing

So last November I started apprenticing for a beautiful woman who has been teaching fine art to kids and teenagers for the past 30 years. During my interview she was not impressed with my fine art skills (mainly because I have none) but she felt that I had potential to learn and liked me personally well enough to take me on in spite of my short comings. I always wanted to improve my fine art techniques (things like drawing, painting, etc.) because it really is the basic foundation of graphic design or anything artistic for that matter so the perk of getting private art lessons seemed like such a dream come true. However, I quickly remembered that wanting and accomplishing something are two very different things.

In the midst of emotional and physical struggles to move from "wanting" to "accomplishing" I've been reminded that art and life share common lessons that benefit the artist if time is taken to reflect and make the connection. I am just beginning my journey in the world of fine art but in some ways I feel like it is also helping a truer form of myself to come to life as well. As I learn some of these lessons I wanted to share them on this blog as a way to journal this time of growth but also to share them with others. I would like to specify that when I say "learn" I do not mean to say that I am any sort of authority on anything nor that I have mastered anything in art or life.

One lesson that I've learned from my mentor is the importance of erasing. While nothing can be created without making a mark on paper there is also value in knowing when and what to erase. In art, sometimes the touch of an erase can benefit a piece more than adding another mark with a pencil. This sort of editing can be small but other times it is necessary to count your losses and start again. Anyone can pick up an eraser and know how to use it but what needs to be developed is an eye, a sensitivity, to see what needs to be removed and what is profitable to remain. Of course, the step that could prevent erasing is to not the mistake to begin with but that is another lesson in of itself.

This sort of reminds me of those Special K commercials: "What will you gain when you lose?" It is certainly an advertising strategy but on the other hand there could be some truth behind the idea. For me personally, I've realized that one of the things that I need to erase in my life are negative thoughts about myself. As humans, we are always our own worst critic and I honestly do believe that there is a time and place for critique but there is also a difference between self-critique and self-contempt. I think learning the art of erasing the negative can allow me to dream bigger, have more clarity, and be a better me. But like all valuable things it's easier said than done but I think it's definitely worth the try.

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