This weekend I threw myself into a life drawing class and I have been thinking a lot about the experience and what I have learnt as a result of 3 hours of challenge and observation.
I must confess to being extremely anxious about the class. I have never been taught to draw and I don’t feel I have any innate talent whatsoever. My mum was a gifted artist and I don’t seem to have inherited even a smidge of it.
Anyway I learnt about concentration and observation, both I find difficult and realise I am more of a butterfly and lack the discipline necessary for focus, but it is a trait I want to develop. At the beginning of the class I felt really frustrated and emotional, I felt tears were imminent and that I might have to leave. It felt a familiar and uncomfortable emotion but I knew I was with supportive and kind people and unlike this time last year nobody wanted to see me suffer.
Over a cuppa and cookie we shared our feelings and I realised I really had to let go and relax. I therefore concentrated on perspective and proportion and stopped comparing myself with the others in the class. As soon as I felt more chilled I found that the images were more pleasing, I also realised how little we understand about our bodies and how limited our powers of noticing can be, limited and partial.
I didn’t “enjoy” the experience, it did feel like an ordeal and I almost could feel my neurons firing – but I felt a huge sense of satisfaction being able to cope with the swinging emotions and not give up. My experience in the workplace last year has made me very sensitive to and wary of my emotional responses but in this case I was kind and understanding and rode the storm and came out with images I am prepared to share.
I realise that I have a diminished trust and confidence in both myself and others. I made a mistake and mucked up last year and the damage lingers but I feel that challenging myself with new skills and rolling with my resistance is helping me feel that I may not be the abject failure I sometimes think I am.
As a friend texted me this weekend, life’s blips can teach us much and it is onwards and upwards….
It was very similar to my singing lessons where the harder I try the more strained my voice. Once I let go and stop trying toplease my teacher and worrying about the result the better the sound. Trying too hard may be a result of failure but the lesson is about not trying so hard and being more natural and less strained.