Learning, Learning and More Learning!

10:30 AM

This is going to be a bit of a meandering post, but bear with me—it all connects together...

Back during the holidays, during my reflection on the year just past and the year to come, I realized that I had not taken any classes in a while and I was feeling stagnant. I had been for a while. 

I set myself a goal of learning something new each month. It could be reading a book on something new (to me), taking a class (in person or online) or experimenting on my own with something I've not tried before. 
Final Project from Joanne Sharpe's class
I took a class from creative lettering guru, Joanne Sharpe, on Friday night and this was my final project. It was a fun, boisterous evening spent in the company of likeminded artists and a nice switch from teacher to student. Stretching those brain cells in a new direction gave me a much-needed creativity boost. 

On Thursday, April 30th, the Imaginary Visit To A Japanese Garden begins! This is one of my favorite classes as we get into mixing greens and grays. The class is fun way to delve into color in a beautiful location. Come and join the fun! If you click the class title, you'll find more info. 

Last but certainly not least is my "adventure" into sketching people once again. Let me set the stage for you...my husband and I went to a gun show a few weekends back. I went and found myself a bench near the entrance which also happened to have an ATM near it. 

I pulled out my sketchbook and made a few false starts but quickly realized folks weren't lingering too long before entering the show. However, they did have to wait to use the ATM and that worked out well. As I said my first few attempts were on the horrid side so when I sketched this guy, I was pretty excited. I liked the smooth lines and the proportions were good. 

Unfortunately, his buddy retrieved his money before I finished my sketch. When I finally pulled back from the act of sketching to look at the end result, I started to laugh. In fact, I got so tickled I was afraid they were going to come and take me away...you have to remember, there I sat, a lone woman, on a bench outside of a gun show, laughing hysterically at...something in my hand. 

Each time I got myself calmed down, all I had to do was look back at the page and I'd start laughing again. It didn't help when some guy came by and did a double take at my open sketchbook. The look on his face was quite comical. 

In desperation, I pulled out another piece of paper and laid it over the drawing so that I could keep going, but by then, I'd lost my momentum and I decided it might be prudent of me just to put the book away.

In defense of the sketch, it was very chilly in the building and the guy was cold standing there in his shorts and tank. His hands were in his pockets and his arms pressed against his body in an effort to stay warm. I could hear him and his buddy bantering back and forth about the temperature while they waited.

Now, if I'd been paying slightly more attention, I probably would have opted to NOT draw this particular guy. There's that learning piece again...how often do we get so into what we're doing that we lose sight of where we're going? I had NO idea what this guy looked like until he started to walk away and I pulled out of "sketching mode."

When my husband came up and sat down, he looked at the closed sketchbook questioningly. I opened it without saying anything and let him take a look. His first comment was, "Did they leave the door open to the men's bathroom?!"

This will be a favorite memory for a long time, but I can't say that I recommend laughing hysterically at something no one else can see at the entrance to a gun show!

My point in all this is that we learn by doing. We can read books, watch others in classes or on videos, but until we put a mark down on the page, we don't usually "get it." Not really. 

And of course, if we do finally find the courage to make a mark, we have to worry about those darn mistakes...or do we? Mistakes are how we learn. Can you imagine trying to learn to walk if you could never fall down and then get back up to try again? I can't name anything that doesn't require trying and then trying again before we can begin to claim any kind of mastery.

The other cool thing about these activities is that they often come along with their very own happy memories that make the learning fun. 

What have you learning lately? Do you find yourself getting stale if you don't challenge yourself?

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