Today’s post is all about pushing past your boundaries and finding new limits. This is something that I’ve really struggled with, pretty much my entire life.
Even as a creative person, I’ve gotten accustomed to staying within my limits – ability-wise and creativity-wise – and stopping myself from really pushing myself to create in the way that I truly want to.
I love watercolor, and in my mind I come up with beautiful works of art with depth and dimension and color and meaning. My hands, however, can’t quite capture my mind’s image and render it on paper. Or so I tell myself.
Each time I sit in front of my blank canvas, I imagine an array of colors and shapes and values dancing around on the paper, breaking its initially overwhelming silence. Then I start drawing and painting. Trouble ensues.
Now the beauty I can see in my mind’s eye is being distorted by what I see on the paper; it’s not what I want, how I want it. I get discouraged. I put away the paper and store away the image I had in my mind.
I HATE when this happens. When my so-called ‘perfectionism’ gets in the way of a perfectly good practice session, where I can grow and make something and find my voice…I get stuck.
I work on this everytime I sit down to paint, telling myself that I NEED to push my boundaries to find my true limits. I KNOW I can be better, I can draw better, paint better, do better. I know that I’m the only thing standing in my way, and I feel like pushing myself out of my own way, or figuring out how to hush that inner voice that tells me I can’t do something.
The solution? I haven’t found it. I’ll let you know when I do. Some things that have helped me, though:
A start is to ignore that voice, and keep on painting even if you don’t like how it’s turning out. Progress is progress, no matter how small.Progress is #progress, no matter how small. Click To Tweet
Find people who you look up to and try to figure out their process. I’ve found some great social media accounts of artists that inspire me, and I especially love when they post WIPs (“Work In Progress”) or behind the scenes of their process because it helps me discover new methods I might’ve not thought of before.
Knowledge is power! Really! It sounds trite, but the more you know about something, the better you get at pushing past those boundaries of yours. I love a quote by [the internet says it was] Pablo Picasso that illustrates this point nicely: “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist”. There are so many resources out there (paid & free) that learning has become easier than ever!
Review your work in an objective (as objective as possible) light and finding smaller imperfections you can actually tackle as opposed to looking at the whole picture and deciding you don’t like it.
There is always something good, something pretty. And this goes for life as well, even the darkest of days have silver linings where light shines through. Find the things you can tackle, try to correct those and learn from your (perceived) mistakes, but also find the beauty in your work, find the progress, the silver lining.
You create your own boundaries, so create your own version of a sledgehammer and smash those boundaries to smithereens!