Unearthing creative possibilities: Trish Roque's website, personal blog, & portfolio

Archive for the ‘Finding Balance’ Category

How the creative person can overcome those days of doubt.

Tree portrait - Im learning to expand beyond my trusty ball point pen and am practicing drawing with carbon pencil. Trees are tough but with enough practice, I hope to understand the essence of trees.

I'm learning to expand beyond my trusty ball point pen and am practicing drawing with carbon pencil. Trees are tough but with enough practice, I hope to understand the essence of trees. Whether or not this tree succeeds is not the question - I'm just drawing and if it takes me 10,000 drawings of trees to get it right - then 10,000 drawings of trees it shall be!

I’m a member of Danny Gregory‘s Everyday Matters Yahoo Group and recently, Louise, one of the members posted an email regarding doubt. More specifically, she asked how members of the group overcome those days when the creativity doesn’t seem to flow and the insecurity is at an all time high.

How does one continue to promote one’s art without the self-consciousness and the fear of being labeled pretentious?

I am very familiar with these feelings so I shared with her some of the ways that I get through those days.

Being confident isn’t everything but it helps.

Having confidence is certainly key to a creative person’s success – whether it’s believing that you’ll eventually be able to paint the way you want to or be able to make a good living from your own creative work. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should others?

Having written that, I also believe that it’s not as essential as some other traits. Because like the ability to draw and paint, I believe confidence can be acquired and strengthened with practice. It’s like a muscle – without the daily exercise, the daily practice, the daily doing – your confidence muscle can atrophy.

So, how to overcome the insecurities and gain confidence?

Being unafraid to fail is more important than confidence.

Drawings and doodles. One of my creative goals is to be able to illustrate the ideas I have floating around in my head so Ive taken to doodling in my journal to find my style. I dont know if I suck or am perceived as pretentious but it ultimately doesn't matter. I am in the process of finding my own style.  The Locks of Love illustration is an idea for an upcoming charity event. I shall post more when I get more details.

One of my creative goals is to be able to illustrate the ideas I have floating around in my head so I've taken to doodling in my journal to find my style. I don't know if I suck or am perceived as pretentious but it ultimately doesn't matter. I am sharing my process of finding my own style. For instance, The Locks of Love illustration is an idea for an upcoming charity event, and the devil-child & cat was Halloween inspiration.

Gain more confidence by doing, painting, drawing, getting yourself out there, participating in conversations, blogging about it, then failing, then learning, and keeping on going.

Learn not to be afraid to make the mistakes. And if there is fear, acknowledge the fear but don’t let your actions be controlled by it. That is at the heart of confidence.

Here are a couple of quotes that I absolutely love and keep close to my heart:

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

~Ambrose Redmoon

And my all-time favorite Thomas Edison quote:

I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

~Thomas Edison

Ack! But what if I suck? What if my work is seen as pretentious?

Recent mark-makings in my sketchbook.

Recent mark-makings in my sketchbook & playing with color.

Yes, I’ve heard those words in my own head many times. Here’s my take on it:

So what if I suck? Yes, I am going to suck, I am going to fail, I am going to make mistakes. See the above paragraph on how to overcome the suckiness and failures.

But eventually, I will figure it out by continuing to draw and create and practice. In the drawing and creating and practicing, my work might come off as pretentious, but that is all a part of figuring out who I am as an artist. The same thing applies to you.

And on the subject of pretentiousness – I think that comes through when a person isn’t being authentically themselves, pretending to be someone they are not. But that is a judgment call and is so subjective.  You can’t control what others think about you anyway so go ahead and just be yourself and have fun doing it!

Maybe you just need a break from the creativity.

So when the doubts hit, and the anxiety, stress and worries start to kick in, maybe you just need to go for a nice long walk. Just like with physical exercise and rest, your creativity muscles also need to relax.

For me, the external world can sometimes get so loud that I can’t hear myself think, let alone be creative. Those are the days when I shut off my computer, I throw the dogs in the car, and take a nice long hike up in the hills. I will come back feeling rejuvenated, and more ready to face that blank piece of paper or canvas.

What have you done that’s worked for you?

Other members of the EDM group suggested switching from one’s media of choice to another that one doesn’t always work with. And others suggested just doodling and making marks in one’s sketchbook (another one of my personal favorites).

What do you do to overcome doubt?

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It’s going to be a good day.

Whenever I’m feeling a little off, which seems to be happening more often than I would like lately, I need to just watch this video to get over myself:

I’ve watched this video five times already today. Yes, it’s been one of those days, but you know what, it’s going to be a good day!

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Illustration Friday & what happened to my summer?

It’s hard to believe how quickly my summer has flown. It’s been a busy one and needless to say, challenging on several levels ~ for the most part, all the challenges have been growing experiences so I can’t really complain.

On a lighter note, I’ve decided to go on a 30-day drawing marathon per Steve Pavlina style. I keep telling myself that I need to start drawing again and although I’ve started a figure drawing class, I need to just start making marks on paper again.  I’m hoping this marathon will jump-start this habit and that it will stick.

Day 1 is also my very first entry to Illustration Friday’s website.  This week’s theme is Infinite.  And here is my entry:

infinite_09_24

One of my biggest challenges is my roadblock to drawing from my imagination. I love to draw, but I’ve only drawn from life.  This is the first time that I have made marks on paper, at least since I was 10, without allowing my self-criticism to get the best of me. The criticism is still there but I won’t allow it to stop me from just playing. That’s all this is really. Just playing.

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Zazen practice & what it’s currently teaching me

It’s been a very long time since I’ve practiced Zazen (sitting meditation) – almost a decade in fact.  I had intended to come back to practice since moving to California in 2000 but intentions and reality sometimes don’t coincide.  That doesn’t matter really.

What’s important is that I’ve been sitting for the last three weeks, 15 minutes every morning and every night before going to bed. Just sitting and counting breaths.  It’s a lot more difficult than it sounds – to try to reach 10, to inhale and exhale and to just focus on “one”, on “two”, on “three”, and that is a bird singing so beautifully and loudly, and what is Sammy barking at?, hmmm, I’m hungry, oh I should be counting – and back to “one”.  It is very rare that I ever reach 10.

It’s only been three weeks but in that time, my journal writings have reflected a person that doesn’t feel so panicked or rushed. I alluded to that feeling in my last post, when letting go of what’s not there just came to me.

The practice of sitting and counting breaths, of focusing on one, on two, on three – that practice reminds me to focus on what’s in front of me – to let go of what’s not there – which is everything else that is not in front of me. That includes the past, the future, and even the present, because really, what is the present?  By the time you sense it, it will already be in the past.

And yesterday, I was struck with another realization:

I need to start doing things with the small “I”, without the ego. Just writing those words, the essence is lost, yet, I don’t know how else to describe it. Replace the big “I” with the small “I” and the task at hand, whether it’s making websites or art, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, becomes about the task and not about me.

These words feel inadequate.

Make art with the little “I”, without the ego, learn with the little “I”, make websites with the little “I”.  It becomes about the work and not about me.  There is something very liberating about that – as though this load has been lifted off my shoulders.

We all have glimpses of what I’m talking about – that feeling of losing yourself in the moment with the task at hand, when hours fly by without notice.  It doesn’t have to be a task – it could be an activity, the runner hitting that high, the artist creating, the musician playing for hours. That is the closest I can come to describing this essential nature.

These words continue to be inadequate and I’m not a good enough wordsmith to describe this well, but let me try again: I’m learning the importance of fully expressing the essential nature of this person, this little “I” that’s me.

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Let go of what’s not there

I’ve started Zazen practice again, medidating 15 minutes every morning for the past 3 weeks or so.  I think it may still be too soon to tell if I’m feeling the effects, however, today during my swim, I heard myself say: let go of what’s not there.

It’s such a simple statement, and maybe even redundant, yet if feels very profound to me.

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