How to Begin: Adjust your View, Silence your Ego / by Lara Neece

This past weekend I was talking to my grandfather, who said that he is impressed with my art because he can't even fathom how I am able to make it. I said the same thing to him that I've said to many different people who have said the same thing to me: if you can write your name, then you can learn how to draw or paint. If you can draw a stick figure, then you're halfway there! It's true because you use the same exact motor skills and hand-eye coordination to perform both tasks. Drawing or painting is just a way of recording what you are seeing in a way that appears to mimic reality (unless you are creating abstract art of course). The only difference between writing your name and starting a drawing is that, in case of the former (writing your name), you already have a clear idea of what your name is supposed to look like on the paper and you already know how to make the right marks. To make the leap into drawing or painting, all you really need to learn is how to look at the world in a way that allows you to record what you see as marks on paper. It really is that easy, but there is one big giant hurdle that you need to jump over first in order to do that. Can you guess what it is?

Your ego. 

This is a big one. It's the obstacle that stills stands in my way every single time I approach a canvas or piece of paper. It's the one that creates fear and uncertainty. If I can manage to shut down the logical side of my brain, then the work flows out in an organic way. If you can manage to turn off your ego - to silence the voice in your head that tells you the marks you are making don't look like you think they should - then there is nothing but time and patience left to stand in your way. 

In my opinion, getting started is the hardest part because that is when your left brain, the logical side, is still dominant. The sooner you are able to shut it out and turn on your right brain, the sooner you will get in touch with your creative juices. The best method I have found is to completely disregard the fear and simply get to work. I mean, what is the worst possible outcome - an awkward perspective, disproportionate objects, a cluttered composition, unnatural color combinations? Sometimes these are the things that actually make a painting great, so I am always amazed by the fact that, even after all of these years, I still have trouble getting started sometimes, because I'm afraid of making a "bad" painting. I won't say much more about this now, but I'll be adding some tips and tricks into this blog that have helped me to improve over the years. I told my grandfather that he can learn how to draw or paint, and I believe you can too, if you just adjust your view and silence your ego.