Just came back from two workshops back to back and man, I’m pooped. I had two 3 day workshops one here in Orlando and one in North Carolina the day after the first one finished. Having two back to back is hard, it’s both draining and uplifting at the same time. I mentioned to some of the students that I have learned so very much while teaching. Firstly, when you have to translate what you know inherently so that others without as much experience can grasp what you are doing, it helps the translator. A lot. Before I started teaching I was just an artist, a painter moving paint around to come up with an image, now I know why I do what I do and how I do it. I’ve learned many lessons over the years but after these two workshops, here’s my latest and best lesson to date. Celebrate the little victories.
Painting is a slow walk down a very long road. If you are looking for immediate gratification, this is not the place for you, unless you don’t care so much about whether what you do is good or bad. Most of the people I work with, even the beginners, know that they have a long way to go. They struggle and I struggle with them because it’s hard. To borrow from the great JFK, we do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard. And there are many failures along the way. It can be kind of depressing. One thing that helps me is to focus on the little victories. I had more than one student in the last two classes who, in one way or another, expressed their frustration with where they were and I told them the same thing, we all start somewhere. One student made huge progress, just in being able to see the differences in value and color in a short 3 days. That’s a victory. One started mixing color more accurately, many struggled but all were excited.
There is a commercial, a father watches his son of 4 or 5 years play soccer and the son whifs a bunch of shots. At the end the father and son get together and the Dad anticipating a consoling role asks “Are you okay?”, the son replies, “Did you see me? I was awesome!” That’s the spirit. That’s what I see and that’s the lesson.