My art teacher was saying recently that we ought to be braver and less timid with our art. She said we ought to remember that 'every mark matters' and then just go for it. Her words were inspiring, if a trifle daunting, but i decided she was right and that i would give it a go. i could hardly wait to get back to my easel where i splashed around ink and watercolours, and layered chalks, charcoals and pencil with a delicious sense of abandon. This was it - i was an artist now, my materials flowing onto the page as i created my master work. i stood back from the easel, having really enjoyed applying my marks so deliberately and confidently, to find myself looking at one of the most appalling unappealing messes i've ever had the misfortune to put on paper. i was stunned at how childish and amateur it appeared. i saw teacher heading for me. Usually i think of her as a friend, someone i'm rather fond of in fact, but now i felt like i was back in school - how could i hide from her or at least hide this rotten drawing? Would she be cross with me, i'd been doing exactly as she asked hadn't i?! She looked at it in surprise, made a few suggestions (i think rubbing out over half of it was the main one) and then mercifully moved on to the woman next to me who was paralysed by the thought of every mark mattering and so couldn't begin. Thinking about it later i realised that my teacher is right - we should know every mark matters, we should be less tentative. i also realised that the huge gap between our intention and our abilities is hard to bridge. When i watch my art teacher draw i marvel at the confidence of her line, her sureness of execution. For me, what my brain wants and what my hands can do are two very different things. i try to practise as often as possible in the hope this will change, but for now, i must live with it. It was nice to draw for a day as if i believed i could, even if the results were as flawed as ever!
One good thing did come out of the lesson. My terrible drawing (even my teacher, usually gentle in her admonishments asked why on earth i'd made the arm look like a sausage) was rescuable. Taking her advice i rubbed out, drew over, rubbed out and drew over until i at least had something i didn't feel had to go straight in the bin. i decided i would photograph it and post it here first. At home i would have given up, but i found that being told to keep reworking until it was better is a possibility. Learning to push through and redraw was a good lesson.
Every mark matters, and if you don't like the ones you've made you can always make new ones.