Monday, March 26, 2012

Process vs. Mistakes

"Learn from your Mistakes." We've been told this over and over throughout our lives. I've probably said it myself, thinking it good advice.

And while it is true, it doesn't really help.

When I think about the mistakes that I've made in my life, my face starts to burn, my breath comes shallow, and I push those thoughts aside. Mistakes are for moving on from, forgetting, leaving them behind. 

Mistakes are for erasing.

In the continuing saga of my life drawing class, I have been horrified by my mistakes. I've wanted to hide them, they make me nervous, my face starts to burn . . . . And that of course makes it impossible for me to learn from them.

But a couple weeks ago I remembered - I love process. I seem to love the doing more than the final product. So why haven't I been able to enjoy the process of learning to draw the figure?

I love being in the classroom; I love the luxury of three uninterrupted hours of drawing; I love sitting on those uncomfortable drawing horses; I love moving my hand and arm around in front of a big piece of paper; I love glancing back and forth between model and drawing, model and drawing. So why was I feeling so frustrated and defeated?

And then I had it: Substitute the word process for the word mistakes.

"Learn from your Mistakes the Process!" 

And you know what? Last week, finally, after 6 weeks of classes, I started getting it. I started relaxing, and making steps towards some work I could be proud of.

I no longer feel like I'm making horrible mistakes. Instead, I can look at what I've done, even my most alarmingly awkward figure drawings, and be happy because I am learning from the process.

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