Shades of Words

Since I had book club last night, I didn’t get to post so I thought I’d post two today if I can. This is actually face #4 and I will post #3 tonight.

This one was an attempt to take a photo Judy gave, turn it upside down and try to draw from there. And then to paint it with just a single color to study values.

The quote says:

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.

Since this was a study in shades, I thought the quote fit the drawing. I am not a fan of this face but it’s all part of the process and I am trusting the process. I am trying to show up and do my piece and call it done until the next day. I am actually a few days in now and I can tell you my pieces do get better.

As for the quote, this is one of those things that I think is really important to remember. What is there is just words, we are the ones who give meaning to them and sometimes that can be really dangerous. Our own mood can impact how we read an email, how we interpret a friend, how we decide to respond.

As so much of our communication has moved to written media instead of the phone (which is interesting to me since on the days before the phone, the primary media was written too, is this progress or a regression i wonder?) I think this idea of human voice infusing words with shades of deeper meaning becomes more and more relevant.

It means you have to be careful with the words you choose to ensure it’s not easy to misinterpret them. It means you have to be aware of your own bias/mood/attitude when reading others’ words.

These are extra hard in today’s “get-it-done” or “check-mail-while-multitasking” world. We pay less attention. We are not so mindful.

And yet I think this form of communication requires less rush and more mindfulness.

Email is a tough medium, in my opinion, it leaves a lot of room for interpretation and I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with it. But, in the end, it’s another reminder to live my life mindfully.

And I could use many of those.


Today’s quote says:

I myself am entirely made of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.

When I decided to tackle faces for May, I knew it would be challenging. I’ve tried to draw, paint, color faces before and it was tough each time. And it’s still tough. The thing about art, for me, I’ve learned, is not how realistic it looks, or how unique it is, or whatever. It’s about how closely it matches my intentions.

Does the outcome match what I had in mind? Does it match what I wanted to create? Does it give the feeling I was looking to communicate?

And, well, it rarely does.

Which is why I keep trying, I guess.

There are cases where I don’t have a major plan and I just let it be. Or times when I am satisfied enough. Or, I might even be pleased on some rare occasions.

But I knew it wouldn’t be this way with the faces.

They were going to be hard and I was going to be unhappy. Drawing faces is hard enough for me, and painting them is down right impossible.

But then I remembered that Learning is a core goal for me this year. As I was thinking about 2013 and 2014 back in December, I realized that a lot of what I did in 2013 was practicing things I’d learned the year before. And I wanted 2014 to be different. I wanted it to be full of new experiences, growth and new learning.

Learning something new is never easy and there’s a long period of adjustment (or sucking if you want me to be honest.) For the first hours, days, weeks, months, even years of doing something you’ve never done before, you are not good at it. You struggle, you mess up, you get frustrated, you want to give up.

Or maybe it’s just me.

But the trick is to soldier on. The trick is to show up every day and try again and again. Even after you’re exhausted. Even after you feel you’ll never ever get it. Even after you regret the day you decided to try this to begin with. Even then.

You keep going.

You keep showing up.

And when you’re worn out from the wear and tear. When you’re spent. When you feel it will never happen for you and that you must just not have the head/talent for it. You still keep going.

And then one day it just happens.

You wake up, you sit down, you try again and you notice it’s not as hard this time. You start not hating what you came up with. and that little bit is all you need to just keep trying.

That’s how it works. Learning new things is tough.

I often hear people say I don’t have the ear for languages. I don’t have the talent to draw. I don’t have the head for math.

What you’re missing is not the ear/talent/head/time/heart…. what you’re missing is the persistence. The unwavering dedication any new thing takes. I am not saying we all have to learn new things but I am saying that if you truly want to, you can. Anyone can. You need a lot of persistence and dedication. A lot.

Anyhow, I decided I wanted 2014 to be a year of learning for me. Which also means I need to be willing to suck. I need to be willing to spend the time and effort and not have it pay off for a while.

and that’s ok.

So I will paint my faces. And most of them will suck. And maybe one or two will be okay and that will be wonderful. To ensure the process is less painful for me, I decided to change the perspective on my intentions. My intentions this month are to show up daily and paint a face. Nothing further than that. If I make it to there, I did good.

My pages will be entirely made of flaws but will be painted with good intentions.

Your Worth

Back in February, Judy Wise put a class announcement on her blog and I signed up immediately. See where it says March 24, well, apparently I didn’t because I put it down on my calendar as April 24. So when I emailed Judy, full of excitement, on April 23 about how excited I was for the class, she emailed me back immediately, kindly telling me I had just missed the whole class.


On the up side, I now had all the lessons at once and didn’t have to eagerly await for the next day to show up. But on the down side, there’s something to be said for the momentum of taking a class along with others vs having to do it all on your own.

So I had to make a plan.

Since April was almost coming to a close, I figured the timing was perfect to make this a new monthly project.

So here we are. I will post all the April pages at once next week but now it’s time to start May.

I decided I would couple the assignments with quotes because I’ve enjoyed them all April long and I wasn’t ready to let them go yet.

So today’s quote is:

Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

A good one to start the month with and a great one to remember. You, and only you, decide your worth. What others see or don’t see is on them.

Not you.