Summer, 2008. Watercolor painting class at Descanso Gardens. I am starting a new painting, it will probably suck as much as the last four have. I have very little artistic talent when it utilizes a paint brush, pencils, chalk, or charcoal. I'm okay with that.
There is a blank, white sheet of paper in front of me, and it's intimidating. The teacher and I have been circling each other for a couple weeks now, unsure if we like each other. She notices my hesitancy at what to begin painting on such a blank canvas. Sometimes the emptiness of a piece of paper or the silence of a microphone is terrifying. Anything less than brilliant would feel insulting, and yet we always have to start somewhere. It's so much easier, then, to just never start.
"Get the entire paper wet," my teacher says, looking at me. "And then throw whatever color you want on as the background. And then let the painting tell you what it wants to be."
So I did. That lesson, in itself, made it worth it to show up every week and paint crappy paintings. Let the painting tell you what it wants to be. Let the poem tell you what it wants to be. Let life tell you what it wants to be. And then go forward with an open heart, and listen.
By the way, I'm still painting. No, I haven't gotten any better.
But I am getting better at listening.
3 months ago