art · Catholic · Creativity · Faith

How my own artwork taught me a lesson

I wanted to create a nice drawing today, but I learned an art lesson instead.

After two embarrassingly awful drawings that my third grade self could have done better, I decided to journal over the image to figure out why I was having such a hard time.

My problem was that my motivations were all wrong: I was hurrying to make a piece of art, because I wanted to finish before my husband came home. I also wanted it to be a pretty picture, or at least discernable, so that I could share it on this blog.

Neither motivation makes for good creativity.

I thought back to my last two drawings I’ve done: both were drawings of photographs, and they both came out pretty well. I’d taken my time on them, and was rewarded. So rushing was the first problem.

But there was another problem: neither of my earlier drawings were my original work. Both were copies of other people’s material. And I think that’s my artistic weakness.

My husband has a better “mental eye” than I do when it comes to art: he knows what he wants, and draws in details right from the start. I’m the opposite: I do a lot of preliminary sketches and shapes, and then add detail by detail until I come to a satisfactory stopping point. And I never quite know what I’m drawing until it’s finished.

So what did I do? I scrapped both problem doodles and finished up a watercolor painting from a few months earlier… and I didn’t hurry or worry; I just painted. 

Today, my creative time taught me 2 art lessons: first, don’t rush. What is creativity if not time to relax and express oneself?

Second, I recognized my own artistic weaknesses, and realized that I’m starting a drawing habit for exactly the right reasons: I want to draw better than my third-grade-self, and I need a lot of practice to develop both my “mental eye” and my own unique style.

What about you? What’s your creative Achilles heel, and what are you doing to overcome it?


2 thoughts on “How my own artwork taught me a lesson

  1. Lovely art! I’m glad you learned things, and that you finished this.

    i needed to learn to take my creativity seriously, and give it space in my life. That’s made a world of difference that stretches to all aspects of life – I’m happier when I embrace creativity!


    1. Same! My creativity shifts with the seasons… sometimes drawing or painting or clay, then crochet in the winter, with writing and digital art at the turning of the seasons… whatever the creative outlet, give it a chance! Even if it’s just for a week or even just an hour… a lot can be learned with a little creative time!


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