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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7 Creative Thought(s)

  1. I love your lettering project! Beautiful work. I bet it was fun to be the student for a change. You hit upon one of the principles that I most need to remember: you can think about it and read about it and study it all you want, but until you actually DO it, you won't really learn how to do it. And also, you might be terrible at first, but you will get better, but only if you keep making mistakes and keep trying.

  2. What a hoot! It's funny how those sketches you think are rubbish suddenly remind you of a particular moment. I embrace my mistakes, the only way to know I'm making improvements!

  3. That is a funny story but a pretty darn good sketch of the man! I have been learning I have to cut back on signing up for things and buying books and thinking I have time to do everything. With a 24/7 husband it just isn't possible! Right now I am crocheting (just finishing) an afghan and knitting some dish cloths for my grandson and his new wife who will soon be moving into a furnished apartment up in Alaska. After being in a serious car wreck (their truck was totalled and everyone but the wife were okay - she got some stitches in her head and three broken ribs) that doctors and the EMT said was almost always a fatal thing (hit by a semi truck going 50mph) so I thought I'd cheer them up with something to personalize their new "home". Therefore my online classes and just plain ol' drawing have taken a detour so I am not learning too much new there yet but will as soon as this project plus a few tidbits I need to work on for the wedding vow renewal (wedding party) which will be held at the end of May for these kids while they are down here in southern California for vacation (leave time from the Army). Whew, that was a lot of running on sentences I think. Glad you got to laugh so hard at the gun show. That is always good for any of us!

  4. That's a funny story. My mind went to the deep gutter before you even said anything. lol. Love it and he only has one leg below the knee. Quite the talented guy. Getting so involved in what you are sketching brings back that wooden man and the trough of water that I posted for the class. Glad you got to enjoy being a student. It really is a different use of brain cells.

  5. Too funny. This is one lesson I hope to remember. Probably not tho. It is when we do it ourselves is when we often get it. Love your lettering project.

  6. Oh my Laure - your post had me chuckling for sure. Such a great thought though about making our own mark. Sometimes mistakes are the best teacher. Thanks for sharing. I think you really are onto something doing something new or learning something different. Hope you will continue to share. Thanks for making me smile! Hugs

  7. I'll confess that I too started chuckling when I first started the sketch, and then I was fascinated to read your reflection of the experience. You really were "in the moment" of the process ... and in those times when you're so into "it" you can lose sight of the bigger picture.... or at least that happens to me.

    I love your cheery reminder to "ask for what you want". The lettering is lively and playful and also made me smile.

    I like to have my hands in multiple things at once as well - art lessons with you, an online "Type" class (to get inspiration which I'll orient towards hand lettering in my journals), the online "Thrive" course (I'm behind!) and various books that I'm reading.... (but I'm not good at going cover to cover and finishing ... I pick up a little bit of this and a little bit of that)... lots of different influences. But, it keeps my days interesting!


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