(If you’d like to jump ahead to the discussion of my WIP, click here.)
At the end of last week, I had a decision to make. Do I set aside my current drawing to make another drawing for a contest that my teacher on Patreon was holding? One of the criteria of his contest was to use a model from his model pack. Since I was working off of my own reference photos, my current project didn’t qualify.
But I chose a model from his pack, prepped my paper and was ready to begin. I moved my current work-in-progress aside. And then some advice from a trusted colleague/mentor popped into my head.
“Don’t make something just for a contest.”
When you make something for a specific contest, the focus becomes satisfying the criteria of the contest more than anything else. This resonated with me.
With my current piece – it’s called Yearning – with Yearning, I’m right now in a flow state. Things are beginning to fall into place. I’m learning. I’m practicing. By switching to a project that fits the contest, it all feels like a big interruption to my momentum with this piece.
I struggled with the decision over the weekend.
Was I really giving into my fear that I am not good enough to compete? Was I trying to “multi-task?” There was a cash prize – small but useful. Was I torn because I could use the money?
The honest answers? Possibly, yes, and YES!
With those answers, I gained clarity. I was willing to interrupt my flow of work for a chance at a small reward, and the most likely outcome would be an unfinished project and a half-assed attempt to satisfy the contest criteria.
This is NOT how I want to work!
Every time I stepped into my studio, I could see the drawing I put aside leaning against the wall. I actually felt sad. Maybe I’m giving into the fear. Or maybe it is about finding more value in continuing with my current piece. In any event, I put Yearning back on my easel, and immediately I felt at peace with my decision. No turmoil, no regrets.
Work in progress
I work very slowly and carefully – I’m trying to create an accurate likeness while at the same time not lose the emotion in the piece (I’ve lost the emotion…). I spent my time this week darkening shadows, refining the mouth, adding more definition to the eyes. As I look at where I am at the end of the week, I can definitely see areas that I need to revisit before moving on – specifically her mouth and the cheek on the lightest side of the drawing. And as always I need to really darken the darkest areas. I’m still too timid with my darks.
I’d like to make more progress on this piece next week. Bring it much closer to completion. I’ve blocked off a large amount of my time on my calendar just for this, but I’ll have to vigilantly protect that time!