Thursday, March 4, 2010


I'm living in Port Aransas, Texas, for the next few weeks. There's a great little art center here called 'Art Center of the Islands' that has weekly drop-in art classes. I started attending a pastel class last week.

I almost didn't go to my first class, even though I've wanted to use pastels for about 20 years! Fortunately, my husband helped me get through that barrier. He asked me what would be the worst that would happen. I said that I wanted to create a masterpiece. I wanted to make a picture that would knock everyone's socks off. The worst thing would be that I would make something reallyugly and disappointing.

Talk about crazy expectations. We all have them. Different flavors, such as 'I'll never be any good at that', or 'I have to be the best in the class' or 'I don't have any original ideas'. Whatever they are, they can stop us from ever starting. And they prevent us from learning and enjoying ourselves.

I was able to giggle a little bit about my big ole expectation, and decided to go into the class with the following guidelines:
  • I want to have fun
  • Let's just see what happens

Well, I got MY socks knocked off! I learned that like watercolors and oils, pastels are used in layers. You can even change the way something looks by coloring over it completely. So they have qualities of paints, without the water; and qualities of drawing, but with a looser approach. Is that why I have wanted to use them for years? Because they are just about the perfect medium for me?

I love drawing, but not in the painstakingly accurate way that pencils lend themseves to. I like painting but get frustrated with mixing color, only to have it run out. Pastels proved to be the best of both worlds - a medium for creating images, and COLOR!!!

If I had been stopped by my expectation that I had to create perfection from the get-go, I would never have discovered a medium that delights me, and, as long as I keep my pesky expectations in line, promises to be a fascinating teacher for me.

What might happen if you substituted an attitude of curiosity and a desire to have fun for your expectations? [Hint: Surprise!! Delight!!]

No comments: