I find no shame in the phrase “Jack of All Trades.” While it would be nice to be a master at something (not including my master’s degree here), I much prefer variety in my daily life. I am guilty of stretching myself too thin at times, though – too many interests can be stressful. When this happens, I face one of two options:
- Stress myself out until I do nothing at all
- Temporarily give everything else up to hyper-focus on one interest
I found myself in this spot last summer, when I decided to start painting with acrylics. While I had drawn since I was young, the permanency of paint had always scared me. I signed up for a summer class with a local community college, bought some basic supplies and consumed as much beginner painting media that I could find. Ultimately, I found the most helpful strategy was to just paint. Practice makes perfect, right? And while my painting teacher was talented and nice, she spent much more time chatting to students that were her old friends than she did actually offering guidance. I found myself dropping out halfway through the course.
After I dropped out, I painted even more. I gave myself major incentive, a big goal to both motivate me to keep going and to give me an almost unnoticeable yet large amount of practice. I contacted a friend who was running a small Digimon-themed convention at the end of that summer. I asked him if I were able to complete fifty Digimon-themed paintings by that time, could I sell them at his con? He fortunately gave me an enthusiastic yes, which is the story of how I completed forty paintings in about forty days.
Man, did I learn a ton about painting during that time! I still have plenty to learn, but during this time I learned how to take care of my paints and brushes, blend colors, match colors, and create depth. These were primarily portraits, but some were more complex. The sizes ranged from 6×6 canvas board to 12×18 canvas.
By the end of August I had a table’s worth of work to sell at the Digimon event. It was a pretty amazing experience, because I got to talk to fellow Digimon fans, more experienced artists and vendors, and I made my first sales!
I’m painting significantly less at the present time, but when I do I am experimenting more, working on originals. I still have some of the those Digimon paintings…in fact, the main ones that didn’t sell were the big canvas ones, which take up a lot of space in my little apartment! One of my goals is to clear these out soon. I’ve posted some for sale on my Facebook page and my Etsy, though I don’t yet know how to maximize my use of either.
On my painting To-Do list this week is to finish my first ever commission, a Gundam bust. As I’ve actively avoided painting more mechanical things in the past, this was an interesting challenge. In a time where I am scrambling for supplemental income, one of my aims to to challenge myself even more: first, by selling more of my work/commissions, second, by expanding my abilities and range.
- Current drink: knock-off lemon-flavored LaCroix
- Current book: A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel
- Current audio book: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- Current music: Natalia y La Forquetina – Casa