Life Classes……

So…. just like buses…. no posts for ages, and then they all come along at once.

But I’ve had sketching on my mind. And although I’ve written about it before, I’m going to write about it again. Cos I’m learning a lot from the sketching.

When we started this course in January, and were told that our sketch books were a really important thing to keep up with, it felt like a burden. I’d had a bit of a go before I started and wasn’t reassured.

Before KLC I didn’t sketch because I thought I couldn’t do it. And you know how it is, if you have a go at something you think you’re rubbish at. You look for proof that you’re rubbish. And when you look for proof that you’re rubbish you usually find it. So you don’t do it anymore.

First attempt
First attempt

This was my attempt at the view from our kitchen window. And ok so there weren’t any stick people in it. And the perspective was kind of there. But it didn’t exactly fill me with confidence at what was to come.

But the great thing about Claire – who’s the one who teaches us all the creative stuff – is that she gives us techniques to switch off the ‘you’re rubbish at this’ voice. Β Quick, crazy, sketch in a minute, don’t take your pencil off the page stuff, that makes you really look at what you’re drawing and doesn’t give you time to listen to the ‘are you kidding me? have you seen the mess you’re making on that page?’ screamer in your head.

And that’s the thing, isn’t it? When you do something, anything, you haven’t done before it’s very likely, unless you are a born genius (which most of us aren’t), that you are not going to be particularly proficient at it. And the harder the thing is the harder you have to work at it. But if you do, and you listen to people who have done it themselves and can give you some tips, then you get better. And you may not be the best in the world at it, or even the best in the class. But you will be a whole lot better than you were when you started. And that’s a good place to be.

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What I’ve discovered about sketching is that it’s much better if you really concentrate on Β what you’re trying to draw, and forget the bigger picture and what you think it should look like. Really, really look at it. Ignore the voice that says oh yes that’s a leaf, I know what leaves look like, so I’m going to draw what I know they look like rather than what they actually look like. Because then you get tripped up. Because that leaf doesn’t look like what you think it looks like. Because you’ve never really looked properly at that leaf before.

And isn’t that the way we are in life? We meet a situation and we say oh yes, I know this situation, this is what I do, how I behave, what I think, when this sort of thing happens. And we do what we always do, because we’ve always done it like that. But you know something…. What we always do is not always the best thing to do.

So I’m learning that the thing is to concentrate on the bit you’re working on at the time. Really look at it, draw it how it actually looks, not how you think it should look or expect it to look or want it to look. Do it as well as you possibly can and don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Glance at the bigger picture from time to time to make sure the bit you’re working on fits ok. But don’t jump ahead. There will be bits that seem easy and bits that seem really difficult. Enjoy the easy bits and don’t rush them. And really focus on the difficult bits, don’t avoid them or give up on them because they are difficult. Because without them you won’t have the complete picture.

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And you know what….. if you work your way through, and do the best you can, at the end, when you sit back and look at the whole, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.

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4 thoughts on “Life Classes……

  1. Elizabeth Ward-Booth

    Thank you for the latest Life Class – have been avidly following your blog through your ups and down, trials and tribulations, not to mention your huge feats. You never fail to put a smile on my face! Having put myself through a similar experience (Post Grad Dip Garden Design at Inchbald a couple of years ago aged 57 whilst restoring and making a house and garden in Italy), your words have great resonance … Oh and I so sympathise with the sleep issue! Keep going, sounds like you are on track and doing well!

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    1. So lovely to get your comment, Elizabeth. And your words of encouragement are hugely appreciated. Sounds like I’ve had it easy compared to you though! Restoring a house and garden in Italy while doing the Inchbald Course….. Wow!

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  2. Hi there Jane – I love what you say about drawing – I too am now quite addicted to my sketch book – what seemed silly to do is now becoming second nature, and you are right you just have to get on with the drawing, and you do start to see improvements in confidence – I love your twig! Happy drawing and gardening, Ursula

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