This year one of my goals was to join a Life Drawing Group. I love it – a beautiful drive through the hills to spend two uninterrupted hours of bliss, all electronic devices turned off, eye to canvas, charcoal to paper, a slice of artistic heaven. Or so I thought.

Okay, so it’s pretty wonderful having the time to do this, for a start.  It’s just incredibly difficult and proving to be an exercise in patience!

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Didn't work out

See the stripes in this picture? This is what happens when you realise your drawing isn’t turning out to be anything like your brain told it to. You stop drawing the person in front of you and instead you begin adding in big bold stripes …partly to disguise enhance something that’s not quite working…and partly to procrastinate give yourself some time to think about the next picture.

Do you know what? I nearly gave up last week. But I’ll keep going back.

Here are five reasons why I’m going to keep on trying

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1. I have a wonderful mentor.

She’s a friend from way back…one of my first bosses that I’ve kept in touch with over the years. She has a wonderful ability to – not only encourage people – but to help them develop their skills….with just a suggestion here…a bit of guidance there…and a big pat on the back there. She’s somebody I can trust to help me improve, if I keep on trying. And she’ll make it fun along the way.

2. Creativity is a work in progress

After uploading my picture and airing my frustration on Instagram, a friend commented “I think that if it was too easy, you wouldn’t enjoy it in the same way..”

So true.

These creative setbacks, those days when our ideas just don’t pull together, those moments when your art just isn’t working out. It’s all just a work in progress.

Ld week 2

5 minute poses and a 20 minute drawing.
I was hoping for Matisse and ended up with spaghetti.

3. I’m going to finish what I started.

I’m giving myself a whole year to see how I progress. It’s the least I can do, to feel like I’ve really given it a go. My own artistically gifted mum told me that she nearly gave up when she started LD group after a 40 year gap. Now she only has to wave her hand on the canvas and she’s created something beautiful.

4. Inspiration vs Comparison

There are some amazingly talented people in the small group. Many of them are illustrators and people who have studied fine arts. At the end of each session I’m fascinated to see the different styles and skill evident in each beautiful picture. However, I’m choosing to see their work as inspiration, rather than allowing it to intimidate me. I’m constantly encouraged by our teacher to find my own groove, my own style… after all, it’s been around 15 years since I spent regular time drawing and painting.

5. I’m determined to enjoy myself.

After all, I’m not doing this so that I can paint like the Masters. And while it is gradually teaching me how to see and draw, I’m really just enjoying the weekly drive through the country, the chance to turn of the computer, and to hold a piece of charcoal in my hand instead of a mobile phone. The chance to do something creative for creativity’s sake makes me feel alive. Life drawing is a new creative challenge for me. And I’m so glad I’m doing it.

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How about you? Have you started a creative project and nearly given up? Does doing something creative make you come alive?

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