The fear of ridicule holds you back. It holds you back like the clamp put by traffic police on the wheels of your car.
I first experienced this when I had to edit the company magazine which also meant that I had to write articles in it regularly. The fear gripped me then, ‘what would my colleagues say, will they make fun of me?’ But there was no choice. I wrote regularly, the fear vanished. People, I realised, have more important things to do in their life than ridiculing you.
After retirement, I decided to do some painting and sketching. The fear gripped me again. The mind stalled like the clamped wheels of car. Then I sketched a small picture. Showed it to a friend. He asked ‘do you put graph paper like squares to get it right?’ ‘No’ I said truthfully. ‘Never do it’ he said, ‘even if you don’t get everything right.’
Then I noticed on FB that Gowri Guruswamy who was my student at TISS was posting her sketches and paintings, done very well. Approached her for coaching. ‘Reverse mentoring’ as they say. She suggested that I should join ‘Artists Journal Workshop’, a closed group on FB. I joined. Then she said get a copy of ‘Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are’ authored by Danny Gregory. I got one for myself.
And my journey has begun. I blogged about the first sketch [Read the story here http://vivek-uvaach.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/the-wimbledon-wierdo-irrestible-urge-to.html]. Nobody said anything bad. I suspect people have become much civilised now, they were not behaving like this earlier!!
In any case, the clamp on mind fell off.
On this occasion I attempted a more difficult sketch. ‘The Fireplace.’ I drew an outline and stopped. The clamp had appeared again.
I was afraid of spoiling the picture by filling in details. The DW [Darling Wife] said ‘You always leave every work incomplete.’ The clamp got tightened.
My granddaughter Annika said ‘Wow! When you finish it, give it to me.’ That was very positive. Motivating. Children have this art of motivating their grandpa.
Good ol’ friend MR Parasuram said ‘I say, Go for it!’ Parasu has mastered this art of sketching. So I accepted his advice and finally finished it. Here it is.
The DW said ‘Not too bad!’ This is like a bowler appeals for leg before and the umpire just gives a glance keeping his hand firmly in his pocket. Be that as it may!
I may not have talent for sketching, but sketching made me realise that I can certainly do any job at the average level of proficiency. That was like ‘Eureka!’
I opened the book ‘Art before Breakfast.’ It says ‘Life is just a long succession of small epiphanies. You need to stop and seize them. By making art, you will be recording what you are living through and what you are learning about it. A drawing and a sentence or two in a sketchbook turns those everyday moments into something significant.’
Got it Sir! Got it Mr Danny Gregory!! The clamp is now removed. Thrown away. I have declared that I will go to the garden here and sketch [What else an old man can do there?]. It has caused some eyebrows to curl and move up a bit. That does not dwindle my motivation now. I hope to experience more epiphanies in life. Cheers!
Vivek S Patwardhan