>On Not Being Able to Paint


study of Leonardo, mmg

It’s a bit of a curse, being a perfectionist control freak.
It is stifling.
It is limiting.
It is stupid.

I used to be, back in the day, almost an artist. I say almost, in that I was never quite tortured enough (though I tried) to be one, I suppose.
And really, never talented enough either. Not driven. Not truly.

And therein lies my problem. Because, if I was a REAL artist, I’d wouldn’t care. I would just paint for the joy and release of it. And sculpt and draw. All those things that ARE such a release and a joy….all those things that when I remind myself that’s it’s ok to take the time to do it, and then DO it….I feel such joy, such pleasure. I feel such a flood of “oh, yeah, I love this, no matter what, this is part of me.”

So, if I get that feeling, that simple pleasure, every time, WHY can’t I just jump in and keep up with it? I can only guess because I am not deep down a true artist. It’s ok, I can live with being a dabbler. The problem lies in the control aspect, the perfectionism. Because I want every piece I start to be, well, perfect. And if I don’t have the time to devote to making it so, or if I am rusty or in a medium where I am less proficient, then I am somehow…..stifled.

And I do nothing.

And I think that is the saddest thing. And when I intellectualize it, I can jump start myself again, because the intellect in me knows that the control freak is an idiot.

And then I realize, this overflows into so many aspects of my life and choices. I gave up running, back in the day, when I knew I would never be anything but laughably slow (and they did) and to run any distance whatsoever would be almost beyond my ability. I do the same thing with gardening, sewing, quilting, some cooking….I often don’t start because I fear that I or it will not be good enough.

It can even overflow into mom-hood. I can choose to not start or to shut off, out of fear of not being ‘good enough” or totally in control of a situation – of a ‘life-painting’, if you will. The intellectual side of me can easily live in fear.

That is what the urge to perfectionism is, the control freak side really is: fear.

But, I did end up running that half marathon. Then I ended up running that marathon. And I was laughable. And it was still awesome. Worth it. Joy, pleasure, amidst the dorkyness and pain. And I didn’t care about that anymore. It was liberating. I gave up the perfectionism there, and it worked.

So I am determining to choose. I choose to not choose fear. {And yeah, that scares me. Ha!}

I am tired of not of being able to paint.

So, I think I am going to carve out a bit of time, even if it is nowhere near the amount I used to spend in my marathon painting sessions, back in the day. And I think I am choosing to paint again…in different new mediums, new canvases.

I’m going to go find my brushes.