I am continuing to enjoy my watercolour classes and to learn so much more than the techniques of painting.
This week I was discussing with my tutor a little, local textile exhibition I had been to see. I told her that I was struck by the strength of feeling that I had about some of the works displayed: some I really hated and some I loved. She told me that it was useful to try to analyse what I liked, what it was that I reacted to, as this would inform my own style and give me clues as to what it was I wanted to paint. I tend to have a default reaction that anything I like must be simplistic or kitsch and that the stuff I don't like must be more complex and worthy. It was challenging and refreshing to think that I could listen to my heart, that maybe my gut instinct was telling me something valuable, something about the self that I find so hard to get hold of.
Later, as I was bemoaning my attempt at painting fruit, another student reminded me that Tessa has been painting professionally for thirty years, how many hours and hours of painting has she done in that time? I, on the other hand, have done one-and-a-bit terms of two hours a week. It is small wonder that my skill is far less developed. He went on to tell me that he had been sorting out his own artwork and had come across many of his old paintings. He was pleased to see how much he had come on and, though he knew he was no where near the standard which he aspired to, he was much better than he used to be. He was happy to throw much of it away, content that he had progressed and did not need reminders of his early work. This made me think about the process. I will never paint as well as I would like and I will never paint as well as my tutor because, even if I wanted to, I will never have the hours to spend. But do I enjoy the process? Do I enjoy the experience of painting? Because if I am not enjoying it along the way, but am only trying to get to a destination that will inevitably ellude me, then I may as well stop now, as I am on a path which will only lead to disillusionment and discouragment. But if I am having fun along the way and enjoying the act and experience, then that is purpose enough.