October’s book art collaboration with Spring Leaf Press was meant to be simple; five sketches in five mediums- colored pencil, graphite, pen, watercolor and a print all wrapped up in a simple binding. I chose to draw some Japanese Anenomes growing in my father’s nursery.
And it was simple, but it was also…difficult. Not conceptually, but as an exercise in patience and skill. I procrastinated. I would sit down, stare at the flowers and pick up my pencil. Then I would get up and weed, or look at the clouds, take a walk, brew some tea. I started paying attention to what was going on in my head as I prepared to draw. I found myself questioning my abilities and troubled by thoughts of indeterminate judgement. What if this drawing isn’t any good? It won’t reflect my talents because I’m not taking enough time. Why am I so impatient? What if my ability is judged based on this single image? And on it went, without taking into account the drawing was supposed to be a sketch, not a perfect copy. Without taking into account this was an exercise, not fine art. Without taking into account that is was supposed to be fun and uncomplicated.
I finally focused enough to complete the sketches. They turned out fine. I am stronger in some mediums than others and the images reflect that (colored pencils, yuck). I’d like to say I had a breakthrough, but I realize that much of my work is only completed after prolonged procrastination and I am rarely happy with the results. Recognizing my approach to this exercise helped remind me that it is better to produce flawed pieces and enjoy the process, rather than put off potential perfection and complete nothing.