31 days of endless drab grey skies, paying my tax and nature in a state of stasis. I usually try to escape, heading off on trips to broaden my mind, feed my soul and recharge. My Mums Gap Year page will tell you all about the adventures I have been on so far.Well this year has been different. I stayed in the UK and guess what it wasn’t half as bad as I had imagined!
Paying the tax is inevitable, however the rest of the month was full of new found passions, friendships and a tremendous feeling of belonging. Like most things in life we can over think the idea of something. It normally turns out completely different to how we had expected though. This great article from Psychology Today illustrates the difference between ruminating, worrying and overthinking. There are 6 great tips to stop overthinking, certainly worth a read.
I digress. James a very good friend of mine was staying at New Year. He is a talented artist and belongs to a sketching group on FB. His joy when he sits down surrounded by his trusty inks and two furry companions is infectious. An internal light goes on, a smile and then a frown sweep over his face in nano seconds as he works. The challenge of finding the correct subject, the marks on the page, the dashes of colour all amount to a combined journey through pleasure and pain.
The outcome in my opinion is always stunning, I am also secretly envious of his talent and would like to savour this experience for myself. “You can’t draw!” I hear my 15 year old internal voice say, followed quickly by my 50 year old voice, ‘ Why don’t you try something simple and see how you feel?”
At school I studied art, though I was a constant disappointment to my art teacher who wanted a photographic drawing. She would wind her way towards me, past drawings where the full gamut of HB to 6H and beyond had been used. Praising the shadows, shading and textures created by that student. On reaching me I could see her thinking about what to say, chewing her lip, rolling her eyes and suggesting I spent more time really looking at the pair of trainers in front of us.
I was looking at them, really trying to see them the same way that everyone else did, to replicate them on paper. It wasn’t working! So now was my opportunity to face this fear and do it my way.
Encouraged by James to dig out an old art pad and pencils I began with something small. A lego block. This small insignificant piece of plastic that held so many happy memories of my children, became something more. I was transported back to a time where my children and I lost hours making space stations, cars, trucks, houses and farms. The pencil moved with ease across the page I was not 15 and having to perform, I was drawing for pleasure and it was just that. It’s not a photographically realistic drawing but it is my interpretation and that is more than enough for me.
The community he belonged to required that you upload your sketch/doodle/painting to the page to share, learn and grow. This part terrified me. I wasn’t ready to share my artistic attempts just yet, however I had been totally immersed in the process of drawing so I continued on. The group was filled with newbies, artists, crafters, creatives of all abilities. The gentle encouragement and generous constructive ideas to build confidence was at the core of this group.
Whole heartedly enjoying being part of this new tribe and how we sat around the virtual fire in the evenings sharing what we had drawn, the materials used and our inspiration. We were all being opened up, vulnerable, but safe in the knowledge that we all had each others backs. I began to experiment with Fine liners, biro and drawing with my left hand. Using continuous line in pencil to push myself to develop new skills and learn about my own style and interpretation of the topic. It was like learning a new language and I was invested.
So here we are on 31st of January and it really wasn’t so bad. In fact a month full of new found passions, friendships and a tremendous feeling of belonging.It wasn’t an easy challenge, but challenges seldom are. What it has taught me though, is to rewrite old thinking. Change is good and what we learn about ourselves continuously changes who we are and how we see ourselves.
I will keep drawing, comfortable now in the knowledge that in my own way, I really can draw. Happier now to share some of my drawings, I may even stay in the UK next January, who knows! This process really added colour to my life.
Tomorrow I begin my next challenge, 28 Days of Tabata Yoga. Let me know what you have planned in the comments box below.