My inner critic has been on fire lately, scorching my sketch practice to its foundations. Not helpful!
Just because I'm hating almost everything I sketch lately, though, doesn't mean I give up.
Not this time.
This time I intend to persist until I have some kind of break through, be it in the way I see the world, my watercolor skills or simply my level of giving a f**k.
I'm in the in-between, in the gap where my level of skill hasn't caught up with my taste.
This time, I refuse to give up.
This time, I intend to keep up with the practice, to keep doing the work, and to sit in the discomfort of not knowing how this journey will end, where I'll end up, what kind of sketching I'm capable of.
Two things I'm learning in this in-between phase...
1. Materials matter. Buy the best you can afford.
I hate my current sketchbook. It's a Strathmore Mixed Media book that was cheap at a big box craft store. I bought it before I knew what else was out there. The paper is too smooth. It doesn't grab and absorb the paint so that the paint sits on top and amuses itself making endless cauliflower blooms. I'm too far along to abandon it now. It would be fine for pen and ink work or pencil sketching only.
2. Learn a little at a time. Not everything all at once.
I'm a course junkie. I've binged on courses by Liz Steel at Sketching Now (Foundations, Watercolor and Edges, so far). By Charles Reid. His book, Watercolor Secrets, is full of great nuggets, too. ALL the Craftsy classes, including with Marc Taro Holmes, Shari Blaukaupf, Steven Reddy. The list goes on in an embarrassing way.
The point is, I'm at instruction overload. Too many tools in my tool box. Too many concepts to absorb. It's time to go back to point one. It's time to just do the work. A lot of it. Maybe choose one or two concepts and do a lot of that before trying something new.
And absolutely NO MORE COURSES.
For now, anyway.