When I began my writing life, words simply flowed. There was no thought, no need to tell myself to practice. I had to pry myself from the keyboard to go out and make a living, eat lunch, wash my face. I went from bed to desk and wrote until I realized at some point, I should get dressed. I was Creativity, one-hundred percent, whether writing, thinking, walking, sleeping. Stories consumed me. Things happened on the page that came from me, but until reading the emotions, the memories, I hadn't known they were mine. I never said, I'm terrible. I cried. I laughed. I revised like mad. I lived to write.
On a whim last summer I decided to take a watercolor class. I love Cezanne and gravitate to his work the few times I go to the Met (along with Chagall, not watercolor, but touches me viscerally). I signed up at the Art Student's League for a class ok'd for beginners. I bought all my supplies in advance and showed up like a girl in first grade with a new backpack and shiny cheeks. I set myself up at the table and waited for the fruit bowl, the vase with flowers, the other tentative beginners. Instead, there was a nude model, a full class of painters, most of whom knew stuff. I didn't know how to mix water with paint. No one showed me. For the four weeks I attended, my work was terrible. But I wasn't because I kept showing up. My work and I. We are not the same. Even when writing. But that's another story.
Lately I've been stuck on roses. My inexperienced self started by swishing my brush around, swirling cadmium red, then dropping in quin rose, then using a watercolor pencil.Then I recalled a student I'd observed who "painted" roses by crushing a tissue, making it damp, then placing it atop moistened red paint, right into the palette. He then stamped his roses. I did that (on the left, with touches of lemon yellow), but felt like I was cheating. Below left, swirly flowers ( copied from a Trader Joe's card (artist: Amber Alexander). Bottom is my first thought-out, painted rose.