watercolors, new hobbies + comparisons

Over the weekend inspiration hit. Late on Saturday night I decided I wanted to paint. Not even that I just wanted to, I had to paint. I had all these really amazing ideas. Since all the craft stores were closed I planned to wake up, shower and head straight to the store to pick up supplies. When I woke up it had snowed, not too much but the roads easily the worst they’d been all winter. It didn’t stop me.  It took so much longer to get to the store than normal but I chugged along. It felt good to buy new craft supplies. It had been so long since I had really purchased anything crafty that I almost forgot how great it feels.

Back safe in my warm apartment I set to work. I spent a while drawing up one of the designs I imagined the night prior and after ten or fifteen minutes painting it called it quits. It just wasn’t right. I started working on something else and wasn’t pleased either. I fiddled around with the paints a little while longer before rinsing my cup and my brushes. Not only was I discouraged, I was embarrassed. Why wasn’t I able to paint what I saw in my head? I know I’ve touched briefly in the past on how I maybe have a habit of getting too ambitious about new hobbies, then feeling defeated and eventually giving up when I’m not the best. That was happening once again.

Later in the day, while outside on my walk with Klaus, it hit me. It doesn’t matter that what I painted didn’t turn out as planned, I had fun. It was relaxing, and it felt really refreshing to do something creative again. It was my first time with watercolors but even if it was my 100th time with them it shouldn’t matter. When it comes to roadtrips I’m a firm believer that it’s not the destination that matters but the journey. Why shouldn’t that apply to art as well? I mean, obviously making something pretty is the best but just making things in general feels amazing.

I’d been in a creative slump for so long. My sewing business and circumstances at the time drained me of the creative juices that were always in me. I missed making things but I had literally no motivation. I’m slowly but surely feeling like my creativity is being awoken, first with embroidery and now with this. It feels amazing. I’m feeling like myself again.

I love making things but in a way I’ve always held myself back. I’ve always wished I could paint. In the past I’ve tried acrylics but quickly admitted defeat when I wasn’t able to produce things like my favorite artists. The thing I would always forget is that they’d been doing it for years and years. Skills take lots of time to hone. Maybe once in a blue moon you find something that you just get but everything else takes time.

Photography has always been something I just got. I’m not suggesting I’m the best, or that I have nothing left to learn – quite the contrary actually. There was one distinct moment I remember thinking photography was for me. It was shortly after my sixteenth birthday, I had begged and begged for a digital camera. Looking back, it was a piece of junk but I loved it. It even had a flip out screen so I could take pictures of myself. Not too much has changed. Hah. Anyway there were a bunch of praying mantises in my mom’s garden and I was taking pictures of them. As I was reviewing my pictures one stood out in particular. It was gorgeous. Shoot, I still think it’s a pretty decent photo. But in that moment I was like “Wow! I’m good at this! I should keep doing this!” From then on out I loved photography. In the years since then my skill has only grown.

The internet is an amazing place especially when you want to learn something. I can google “how to paint with watercolors” and get 2,360,000 results (literally). The internet is also a really awful place when you want to learn something. All of a sudden after reading a tutorial… or five you have these unrealistic expectations of what you’re making should look like. You’re comparing yourself to all these people who have been doing it for years and that’s stupid, plain and simple. I’m honestly glad I got into photography before the internet was something that was such a huge part of my everyday life. I’m not sure that I would have taken the time to work on my skills. I worry that I might have seen some amazing photographers work and been discouraged by my own.

The internet is a very real part of my life now though. Even when I’m not looking for certain things I’m seeing them, maybe on a blog I love or even instagram. Just because Jesi is over here killing it with her paintbrush shouldn’t make me feel bad about what I’m doing with my brush. She’d actually probably yell at me for making myself feel poorly because I’m want to be as good as she is. Comparing any part of your life to anyone elses is such a bad idea. I think creativity is so so so important and to let it be squashed by comparison is a waste.

The internet and comparison brings us into another discussion all together but I just wanted to write this post to remind you (and myself!) that…
 ▴ There will be hobbies you stink at at first but that doesn’t mean you’ll never be good. Keep working at it.
▴ Practice doesn’t make perfect. Nothing is perfect. But practice will make you better, guaranteed.
▴ Just because it isn’t a masterpiece doesn’t make it a failure.
▴ Another artists success is not your failure.
▴ It’s okay to be bad at something, it’s better than not trying at all.
▴ You’re never too old and it’s never too late to learn a new craft, skill or hobby.

Maybe this was a bit ramble-y but I feel like it’s important. More than that, it’s being weighing on my chest for too long and I know that others probably feel the same way. Now get back to that hobby you tried to pick up six months ago but shoved in a drawer to try and forget about after less than perfect results! I have a paintbrush to get back to.

Author: Kaylah

Just a green haired gal from Cleveland, Ohio.

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  • I love this post. Thank you for the encouragement. I recently started learning how to do embroidery and sew. I've had to remind myself many times that I don't have to get each step perfect. Just learn along the way, and enjoy the process!

  • Love your reminders at the end of your post. I may not feel that way with hobbies (since I simply don't have what most people would call "real hobbies"), but I can compare that really well with me learning languages. Few years ago I always felt like a loser not understanding spoken English and told myself I will never learn to comprehend things being said in English (I also have that problem with every new language I learn). But… tada! After lots of practice and watching TONS of movies, I suddenly understand. Out of what now feels like nothing. 😀
    So I can only agree with you: practice will make one better and you should never tell yourself you can never achieve what you are aiming for!

  • Couldn't agree more with every word. Thank you for writing this! This is my first time visiting your website, and I'm so glad that I did. Keep on creating beautiful things! 🙂