Fantasy Art

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Awkwardness social and otherwise

Yep, that's a spoon.

We've all seen it and probably all done it to some extent or in some context.  The caring father is showing his kid how to throw a basketball.  So he instructs him on form, and stance and aim, and the kid throws and misses. So dad comes out and repeats his instructions and corrects the kid's stance.  Kid tries again and misses again and dad says "no no no you're not doing it right!"  Pretty soon we have a kid who hates basketball. 
There's a point where instruction is appropriate and immensely useful and then there's a point where it just gets in the way because no one is ever going to throw a basketball like a pro until they've missed the hoop about ten thousand times.
It's like a person walking from Phoenix to Tuscon.  I don't know why they're walking instead of driving, it's an analogy-work with me here-maybe it's a spiritual journey.  The point is there are many dubious stopping points on the road from Phoenix to Tuscon where you might encounter such a person.  Places like Casa Grande.  Now if you stop and berate this traveler for "doing it wrong" based on the magnitude of how much Casa Grande does not qualify as Tuscon, you're missing the point entirely.  He's making progress, he's going the right direction and he's doing fine.  He doesn't need you to help him, give him a ride, show him a map, or criticize his style, he just needs you to get out of the way and let him walk, because let's face it, the sooner out of Casa Grande the better.  Granted there are many low points and pitfalls in any journey and Casa grande is certainly one of them, but these things have to be worked through to get where you want to be.  You can view them as failures if you choose to, or you can see them as roadmarks on your journey and just move on.

Yep, that's an apple

If you pay attention to the dates which will be visible on some of these you'll notice they're not in chronological order.  That's cuz I'm lazy.  Also this whole blog is in no chronological order.  Each post just pertains to whatever I wanted to talk about at the moment.
Back to basketball.  Sometimes it's not the coach who's being a perfectionist it's the player.  Some guys want to study the history of the game, memorize stats, look for algorithms (whatever the hell those are) study the chemical composition of the ball, get a degree in aerodynamics so they can calculate weight vs. gravity, lift, friction, velocity and drag.  Buy the perfect shoes and lobby to have the floor waxed with the optimal material for bounce.
...Then they pick up a ball for the first time and discover they have not one single advantage over any other novice on the court.  For sure they have a unique appreciation for the physics of how and why the ball just rebounded into their face, but they have no advantage in keeping it from happening.

What's my point?

You can only blame your Dad, your coach or some crazy critic on the road to Tuscon for a very tiny percentage of the dialog going on inside your head.  The rest of it I'm afraid you put there yourself.

This blog is about painting.  You can take a class, and you should, you can read a book, and you should.  There are demos on YouTube that are very worth watching, but you're going to paint a lot of BAD paintings before you ever paint any good ones.  Bad paintings are like Casa Grande, there's no reason to beat yourself up about them and there's no reason to keep re-working them until they're perfect.  You'll spend the rest of your life in Casa Grande if you do that, just keep painting, keep walking.  That's what this daily painting exercise is all about.  I produced no great art when I did it and I'm making no attempt to impress you, I'm just letting you watch me practice and fumble and fail.

The date on the apple painting above is 2004, I've improved since then.  But someone in the big bad world of the internet is going to see this and want to tell me how I'm currently living my life wrong based on the merits of that painting.  Ninety percent of the time that someone is going to be me.

My artistic career could be read as a litany of failure and missed opportunities, and gawd knows I've wasted too much of my breath telling myself that story.
Or my career can be see as a fascinating and ultimately successful journey with a wealth of delightful, if inexplicably prolonged, side trips to quaint little locations like Casa Grande.  Did I do it wrong?  Depends on your definition of right. 

I'll grant you that if I could do it all over again knowing what I do now there's a lot of those side trips I would avoid.  Some of those little side adventures make us who we are while some of them are like "The Last Jedi" where people go on a pointless side trip to do an enormous amount of damage achieving absolutely nothing in pursuit of a plan that was no good to start with.

The title of this post was "awkwardness" and while I've rambled all over the galaxy from the basketball court to Casa grande, I haven't really addressed that topic dead on.
...See how awkward that was?

More tomorrow.

Danged if that ain't a banana.

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