If you have read a few of my blog posts then you will know that I tend to be self-effacing to the point of being self-deprecating. Partly it is just a British thing – not tooting your own trumpet and all that – and partly it is a me thing. When I consider that I have no ability with a particular skill or that I am terrible at it, what I actually am is mediocre and potentially improving. I am a pretty driven person and I always aim to do things to the best of my ability, be the best possible version of me I can be with lots of effort and diligence, so I tend to magnify any lack of success. One of the side benefits of all of the diverse art learning I have been doing is that I have had a crack at things I know I will find challenging and I have had plenty of practice at having to accept that I cannot be good at everything, that there are things I am just mediocre at and that is OK.
All of which preamble is to confess that I have skipped over a few Life Book lessons recently. I have been very pushed for free time and, because they were lessons that I knew were not my cup of tea, I decided to give them a miss – at least for now. When this week’s lesson arrived in my email inbox, I confess I thought it would be another one I would skip over. I looked at the exemplar outcome and thought to myself that I would absolutely make a mess of the lesson, that it was not something I would be remotely any good at. However, I didn’t want to skip another lesson in a row so I decided to push myself to do it and plunge on in. I am so glad I did. It turned out the thing I thought would not be my cup of tea was something I enjoyed immensely.
The lesson was taken by Roxanne Coble and was entitled “Your Story; Your Altar”. Essentially the lesson involved combining paint and collage, something I have had mixed results with, but what I really enjoyed about it was the approach to curating and placing the collage elements, the messy imprecision of the paint layering, and all the mark making. There was a really good balance between intuitive and intentional arting, just the sort of balance I have been striving to find. The way Coble applied the paint and the marks she made were all elements that were completely familiar to me and so, while I expected to feel frustrated with my attempt at the lesson, I found that I was comfortable with the techniques and having a lot of fun. In fact, I enjoyed the process so much that I think I might use my sidekick journal (where I smear all my leftover paint) for just this sort of technique.