I’ve been doing some sketching lately, so I have a few small things to add to my “Fifty Things” list. I’m trying to do little things that will allow the feeling of sketching to become ordinary, just something I do for the fun of it. The trouble with being stuck as long as I’ve been stuck is that any tiny thing I do to get unstuck seems like a very big deal. “Oh, my God,” the inner children say, “She actually DID something! We should have a party! There should be cupcakes! There should be fizzy drinks and ice cream! We should sing the theme song and do the happy dance!”
Maybe we should. I want to keep the girls happy, but I don’t want to awaken the inner critic. These sketches are small things but they definitely count. I sketched my coffee cup. I sketched a tomato. I sketched a zinnia and I sketched (or partly sketched – I ran out of time) a Croton. I used a plain graphite pencil for three of them, but that tomato just demanded some color, so I pulled out some Prismacolor pencils for that one. I wasn’t very happy with it, but my daughter said the problem was that I needed a colorless blender pencil. She had a spare, so she gave it to me and it did make a big difference. A lesson learned.
I learned a few other things while making these sketches. I am a victim of inertia. If I am doing nothing, I want to keep doing nothing. If I can just get myself to start something, I want to keep doing that. I started the Croton sketch while I was waiting for some pre-soaked items to dry on the line. Clouds were gathering and I was afraid that if I waited inside, I might not notice if it started raining. I took a sketchbook and pencil outside, along with a tall glass of Coke, and I looked for something to sketch. I sat in a lawn chair in the shade and pulled up a potted Croton. The left side of my brain was appalled. “That’s way too complicated,” it said, “there’s no way we can draw that!” The right side of my brain just dove in and waited for the left side to get bored and go away. It worked! When it was time to check the pre-soaked stuff, I didn’t want to stop drawing.
My daughter does not like to tie things that are bone dry, though, so I had to stop and pull the pre-soaked items from the line. I still felt like celebrating because, for a little while, I was able to lose myself in a creative activity. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.