25 August 2010
Battling the Inner Critic
I sit on the couch hunched over the coffee table. It is a cool evening with a swift breeze from the north coming through the windows. In front of me is my sketch pad, a pencil and a brand new box of crayons. That's right, crayons. I pick up the pad and begin to loosely sketch out some ideas that had been lurking amidst the little gray cells.
"Are those crayons?"
I ignore the question. Obviously they are. Anyone can see that. I continue to sketch.
"What are you doing with crayons? Have you reverted to your childhood or something?" The voice grates, my teeth clench.
"I'm experimenting, looking for a easier way to sketch quickly."
"Hmmph! One would think that you'd have grown up by now. Look at all that equipment you have in the studio, even in your car. Crayons are for kids. Didn't you eat some crayons once when you were a child?"
Probably. Like many kids, I felt the urge to consume the colors, become one with the color, be the color. Or, then again, maybe I was just hungry. I remember they had no taste at all. Very disappointing. I think at some point I even tried doggie biscuits (hence, the great dental checkups).
Silence follows as I continue to ignore the last remark. I look over the 64 colors ranged like soldiers in their 4 cardboard sections, a whiff of new wax tickles my nose. I reach for . . .
"What do you hope to achieve with crayons anyway? They're not "real" artist's tools. Why not pastels or oil pastels? Why not oil sticks?"
"Pastels leave dust everywhere," I reply.
"Oh, yes, I remember that time you wore white shorts. Ha! Not very bright, I must say."
"Shut up." I select one of my all-time favorite colors, periwinkle blue, the color of cornflowers, of summer mornings and warm breezes.
"Well, what about oil pastels?"
"They melt in the summer; freeze in the winter and snap." A loud hoot fills the air.
"Yes, yes! Remember that one, too -- melted oil pastels dripping all over your car, oozing onto the papers and your feet!" A snort of laughter follows.
"Go away. I'm busy here. Besides, crayons are fun. They're familiar, there's no preparation, they are easy to use and they blend so well. That's all I'm looking for -- ease of use and a time-saver since I work full-time. Now, go away."
Another favorite, violet, comes out of the box. A wide spray of violet covers part of the paper, mixing with the periwinkle -- yum!
"You have reverted. You're acting like a kid again, not a true artist. Well, if you continue to insist on this ludicrous behavior, I'll just have to leave you to your playtime." The sound of stomping echoes through my mind.
Good. My Inner Critic has finally left the building.
I think another pool of blue should go here. And then maybe some light green over there. Night rolls on . . .
* * *
The next morning I come downstairs, grab my first cup of coffee and sit on the couch, staring at the sketch pad I had left the night before, along with the pencil and crayons. All happy little soldiers lined up . . . hey, wait a minute . . . something's wrong.
One of the crayons is missing, Where's my periwinkle blue?
Ummmm. Could it be that maybe I've convinced my Inner Critic to put aside logic and have some fun?
* * * * *
Have you tried something "silly" or just plain fun to break out of the doldrums or to find an easier way to do something? Come and share!