You Can’t Get It Right

At the start of an art class, particularly with children, I often say ‘You can’t get it right and you can’t get it wrong. Art is an individual thing and no one does the same work. It’s an attempt to put the learners and ease and reduce comparisons and harsh judgments. Creativity is easier when the pressure is off. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a friend’s birthday event at a class at Bayside Bottle and Brush. It was a lovely opportunity to play with paint and I noticed that I was able to enjoy it without the (self-imposed) pressure to create something amazing. The teacher struck the balance between giving instructions and letting us do what we wanted to.

When do I get there?

Getting there and ‘making it’ are those magical places that creative people are really good at visualising. In fact, the start of many courses aimed to help you to reach your goals will start with imagining that magical place in detail. It makes me a bit suspicious. I can see the value in setting goals and planning for them but working creatively is a daily activity. When you work on something every day it takes you over. Then over time the idea you had about what it would look like changes again. I was listening to a friend talk passionately about what yoga had contributed to her and her life over the past 10 years. A continual practice that gives her peace of mind and at the same time makes her work her body with focus, ease and strength all at once. She was able to look back on all that consistent practice and see how it rewards her now every day. I think I can safely look back on 15 years of art practice and say that it’s contributed a huge amount to me. And I’ll never ‘make it because ‘making it isn’t real. I will keep working though.

Writing every day?

I have ambitions to write and illustrate my own picture book. I’m very attached to it being brilliant though of course. I love listening to Jen Storer on the writing process. She talks about consistency and writing every day and how this can lead to being at ease with it. Honestly, I can pick up my sketchbook every day and draw or paint easily, but writing feels a bit like a chore. But I’m willing to believe that consistency will make it easier. With sketching, I often set myself simple daily drawings. At the moment I’m using pen and ink to fill a beautiful sketchbook my sister gave me for Christmas. Now I need to build in some playful story writing.

Published by Karen Erasmus

I am an illustrator and surface pattern designer. I have illustrated 18 picture books. I live in Melbourne, Australia with three kids, two dogs, four chickens and a mad husband. Life's busy. I also love to sew and cycle and visit galleries whenever I get the time.

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