The biggest obstacle I ever encounter while working is my own stubbornness. It's too easy to convince myself that my room needs cleaning, or I have to go buy some milk, or I just don't have time to draw right now; and before I know it, it's 9 PM and I'm on my tenth episode of the X-Files and I haven't drawn a damn thing.
Last summer, however, I faced my stubbornness head-on. I took a two-week long plein aire painting class that allowed no distractions and no procrastination. At 8:00 every morning, my classmates and I lugged portable easels, primed illustration board, tubes of paint, and our lunches out into the hot wilderness and set up to paint. We painted until 4:00 PM.
I had 18 paintings when the two weeks were out. At that point in my life, that was almost half the number of paintings I'd created in my entire four years of serious painting. So in two weeks, I'd made the same amount of paintings that it previously took me two years to make.
I learned from that class that there is never an excuse not to create art. One classmate and I even painted during a thunderstorm, determined to make the 30-minute drive out to a particularly gorgeous stretch of lake worth it. We kicked our feet up on the dashboard of her tiny car and placed an oil palette precariously on the cupholder between us. We all suffered spiders in our lunchboxes, mosquitoes on the prowl, and aggressive sunburn. We all complained incessantly about the heat, the expectations, and our own inability to create an image that seemed worthy of all this trouble.
But the trouble was worth it, and it made me a better, more prolific artist. I'm drawing almost every day now, and I'm making work I'm proud of. It's funny how easy it seems once you finally get out of your own way.
Well. I've got a few X-Files episodes to catch up on.
Thanks for reading.