Figure studies in watercolor

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

Ira Glass

Last night I got my nerve up to go to the RAC‘s uninstructed figure studio with watercolors in hand. The last time this class was offered, in fall 2009, I went and fell in love — and learned I can draw nicely with pencils and decently with charcoal. But I was unreasonably nervous about trying it with watercolors. The RAC is amazing and everyone there is so nice, but I get such an inferiority complex when I go there, it’s ridiculous! I have to keep reminding myself that (a) it is inappropriate and absurd to compare myself with professional artists in their fifties and sixties, and (b) I’m just there to do the work.

Two-minute sketches

Two-minute sketches

Five-minute sketches

Five-minute sketches

Ten-minute sketch

Ten-minute sketch

Click on any of the above images to zoom and read more description, or go here and keep clicking “next” to see all ten images from the evening’s session.

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