|it really is, you know.|
A couple of days ago, I posted The Rant to End All Rants.
It was written at two a.m., after I'd seen one too many folks in a few of my groups worrying themselves into inaction because they were afraid of not being perfect. Scores of people worried about not doing things right. Including not wanting to "mess up" a coloring book or art journal page. (which, by the way, you can't do. There is no messing up a practice. It is, by name and by nature, only practice, and therefore, even if you light it on actual fire, you still haven't done it wrong.)
So today, I want to take that one step further.
I want a (healthy) revolution.
In the days since The Rant, I've been kind of not-so-quietly watching what happened with it. After the rah-rahs and the inevitable rules lawyers getting all threatened by the concept of not having rules (and trying to gussy up their fear by being all judgy and I'm just saying that fundamentals are important, which no one said weren't, but just said that "fundamentals" are subjective and irrelevant if someone's so intimidated that they never put crayon to page in the first place), some insecurity started to show up again.
This time, it's about Stuff.
There are a few important things you need to know:
1. The right pen will not magically turn you into the most amazing sketcher ever. But it can make you happier with the process of making crappy drawings until they're no longer crappy.
2. All the fancy mixed-media stuff in the store is essentially just decent stuff from the art section with new labels. In some cases, it's even stuff from the hardware store with new labels. The labels are meant for you to think it's new and essential to making Very Cool Things, not because they actually are new or essential. It's just hard to remember that when seemingly everybody has them and is making really neat stuff with them. (Tip: they'd be making really neat stuff with other stuff, too, most likely.)
3. Practice is not a commodity. No thing is going to shave years off your practice time. You can, in fact, practice most things with the most basic of materials, none of those with brand names or giant marketing budgets. At its very core, you can practice quite a few skills with a single pen, a fifty-cent lined composition book, and a glue-stick from Target.
4. Stuff is fun, but it's not untouchable. The minute you start to stash things that are so "nice" that you're reluctant to use them, you are dishonoring them. They're made to be used. You also dishonor your own money flow by buying things you aren't using.
5. Aspirational stuff is also stuff. To get all KonMari for a second, there's stuff in my stash that does, in fact, spark joy, and I keep it around because I want to refer back to it, or learn from it, or just pet it for luck. But when a stash that sparks joy doesn't also spark action, you may want to take a look at why. Is it really because you love it for a purpose, or is it because you're afraid to use it up? The former is active; the latter is clogging your flow.
It's time to stop feeling blocked, afraid, or bad about your stuff, and about your Making of Things.
Write in that book you bought that's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, and scribble something (literally, scribble) in the one you bought because you saw it used on a youtube video or on facebook. Paste down a magazine image in that SMASHbook, even if you don't have all the accessories. Use some of that gorgeous iridescent paint on a canvas, or if you don't have a canvas, paint on cardboard you rescue from the trash.
Really look at your stash. What are you keeping? How can you fight the marketers and the corporations and the rules lawyers who want you to keep buy-buy-buying new things without using the ones you have?
If you hate what you've done, you can always paint over it, add something else to it, repurpose it, or even throw it away. The Art Police will not come to call. No SWAT team will remove your stash. No deity will kill a kitten for your insolence.