When I try to follow Nike's seemingly simple "Just Do It" mantra at a time of indecision or inactivity, it causes me anxiety because I've found that I can't get started if I don't identify and analyze what "it" is. But I've learned about myself that if I just do something, that will lead to something else and then, possibly, it.
It has been nearly a full year since I decided to start painting again after a seven-year break and a ten-year break before that (since my college art degree). I remember one time that I set up a little "studio" in part of the living room a few years ago and then never painted. I just set up the space and sat down and stared at it. I was obsessing over having everything be perfectly ready, including the light coming in the window. Last year when I broke through this mental wall, I didn't think at all. I quickly set up my stuff, obsessing only over the drop cloths so that Keith wouldn't get mad if I spilled on the floor. Then I picked up a small canvas that I had primed probably seven years ago and just started putting paint on it as quickly as I could. (The result is this little sunset.) I had no goals, didn't tell anyone, didn't invest in any new supplies.
Something felt different, and I told myself not to focus on that either. I started to get a little nervous that this new feeling wouldn't last, but I pushed that out of my head, too, and kept painting. Now I get this indecisive feeling on individual paintings, where I just stare at a canvas, but I remember my friend Anne saying that looking is part of the doing, too. And now I have my own mantra to just do something. If it's wrong, do something else. If it's right, do it again.
Later is what?
After settling into various desk jobs, I always said I'd get back to painting later in life, and later is now. Again means that I tried once before. I decided to write about my painting endeavor, too, as a learning tool, an accountability tool, and to stay sharp in case I have to go back to a desk job. Again.
I love periodicals, and if I weren't trying to devote more time to painting I'd mail paper copies. Sign up here, and I'll conveniently send it (blog posts, sales, and new work) by e-mail instead.