scrawls and sketches
during may, i participated in the everyday in may challenge, which followed a month from the everyday matters list of creative prompts. i’ve tried this may challenge before, but i didn’t follow the list and instead drew whatever i felt like. this year, i did. and while the results weren’t all great, i was consistently churning work that was spontaneous, intuitive, and sometimes not bad at all.
some challenges were difficult — the day would wear on and i still hadn’t thought of anything pertaining to the day’s prompt. part of what i wanted to accomplish was thinking of something to paint and draw on the day of the challenge, in spite of whatever else was going on. often, the ideas wouldn’t show up until the last minute, and my approach to painting had to be quick and loose, and if it was late enough, i would also have to be satisfied with whatever came out. it taught me to just do, and walk away when i couldn’t push it any further, either due to time or to other constraints.
sometimes it wasn’t just the lack of ideas, but the execution of an idea that i knew instinctively would work, if i could only get my hands and brushes to Please Cooperate. then it was like coaxing a headstrong two-year-old with a plate of cookies, when all the two-year-old wanted and insisted on is ice cream cake. only with lots of pleading and lots of threats — about three or four tries — would something decent finally come out, and the universe was righted to a working angle again.
the daily prompts were like little art briefs without the pressure of client input: i was the client and i still had to put up or shut up. it made me show up and do something everyday, when i could have given any excuse not to do anything, when i could shrug off keeping my brushes in their cases or in the caddy because i was tired of painting the same damned mugs and bottles and things on my desk, when i could say i didn’t have time because i had so-and-so blah-blah to take care of, and i had a day job and i was tired.
it made me face my own fucking bullshit.
and it also made me better. each day i was better. whether it was handling the brush, handling the paint, learning how to work with a particular paper, or making connections between the prompts and various subjects and objects in life, i got better. even if it wasn’t a giant leap forward, it was a good small step to Better.
why do you want to live if not to be better today than who you were yesterday?
and so, i’m starting every day in june. join me.