Painted portraits – How Dr Pepper helps me get to the easel …

The daily portraits continue on and as I suspected would happen (as I have discovered many times in the past) the decision to just get to the easel becomes easier and easier the more I do it! No surprises there then …

I often think how crazy it is that I even forget this – at how, from time to time, I allow fear and procrastination to take over and the memories and experiences of how good it feels to be painting are dulled and become distant. Fortunately, these times are not so often nowadays and I am better at learning to navigate them and push myself wholeheartedly into a programme of  creative rehabilitation (after a period of self indulgent, self pity of course!).

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Daily portraits from the past week

So this exercise of having a ‘thing’ to do Every. Single. Day works for me every … single … time. On this occasion it is small acrylic portraits on paper (same size every day – I always like to limit myself in one way or other to maintain some flow and consistency.) I am almost three weeks in and as we are coming to the end of June I am already thinking of another theme for July (likely to still be portraits but changing it up slightly).

Does anyone remember the advert from Ooh I can’t remember when? The Dr Pepper ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ adverts have been ringing in my ears for a while now and became a really funny topic of conversation on my last Scotland retreat. It turns out none of the folks from the US had heard of that particular Dr Pepper ad as they had something that went ‘I’m a pepper, you’re a pepper dah di dah di dah … or something like that. So of course we had to do Youtube searches one night for me to prove I was not going crazy with made up memories of adverts I saw as a child …. anyway I digress …

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More daily portraits!

Many times when I am creating art I think – Why don’t you do this or that? What’s the worst that can happen? and that song rings in my head and I find myself humming away – ‘Dr Pepper – what’t the worst that can happen?’. I think of it often when students ask me a question in classes or on the e-course – if I use this material what will happen? Or what will happen if I mix this colour with this one? And I think or say – Just try it – what’s the worst that can happen?

wip

In progress shots – excuse the quality – I mean to take more but forgot after a couple of minutes as I got so engrossed in what I was doing – that is always a good sign!

And so it is the same with fear and getting to the easel – Just get to the easel … ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’

1. I will create something only worthy of the bin.

So? You can always try again.

2. I will have forgotten how to paint.

So? You can always re-learn.

3. I will create something brilliant and then I will never be able to do it again

So? Maybe you won’t recreate that particular brilliant painting but given time you will create something different but possibly equally as brilliant or even more so!

4. You will create something not very good that is just a waste of paint.

So? I have wasted a lot of paint the last few weeks but I have also created a lot of pieces that have surprised me as I learn something new whether it is something that goes in the bin or it is something that is worth keeping. Nothing is wasted as long as you are practising!

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The final three from last week.

I am sure there are many other blocks that have kept me from creating in the past – and of course there will be many more. But it is interesting and fun to knock each one aside with the exclamation – What’s the worst that can happen? And to realise that the worst that can happen is actually not so bad after all.

I would love to know what are the ‘worst’ things that you tell yourself will happen if you do this, that or the other – and what are the answers you can come up with that illustrate that ‘the worst’ is actually not that bad after all!

And if you feel like blogging about it (and if you feel inspired by this post – please link back to it) then please let me know so that we can inspire each other!

Incidentally – I am learning a HUGE amount from this process and I hope I am not boring you with all that I discover – I am sure it will be an ongoing theme as I keep being inspired to continue on.

x x x

Comments 2

  1. Caro

    Love reading your post(s) Gillian… Yes what’s the worse that can happen (I use this in therapy with clients…also a very good motivator;) and yes, how interesting to forget the lessons we thought we’ve learned and integrated. I’ve experienced this too… would it be because creating always starts with a beginning, a new adventure? would it be that we have to let go of things…fear, doubt; we have to leap…unsure of the outcome.
    Not sure…
    I will be thinking about this….
    with much love
    Caroline

  2. Linda Holmes

    Loved this post! Last night I was attempting to paint a picture of my husband holding a turkey (of all things–he really was though 🙂 ) The worst thing that happened was—it doesn’t look like him! However, . . . it does look like some man and I nailed the turkey-ha!

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