Merry two-days-after Christmas, Reader. I hope you had a good week. We made a lot of our gifts this year, which means the gifts were extra thoughtful. It also means the house is extra destroyed. But cleaning house today sounds extra miserable. So here I am: reflecting (Read: stalling).
I drew my brother-in-law’s name in our family name exchange. Like my husband, he’s incredibly proud of his Danish heritage. I haven’t painted in a few years, so I thought I’d pick up the ol’ brush and paint Copenhagen. Once I finished the painting, I planned to overlay a wooden Viking ship. On top of the Viking ship, I intended to whittle a small message.
The painting turned out nice. It took about 3 days, and I liked where the project was heading.
From there, I started to overlay a wooden Viking ship. I spent a whole night on it. I must have overlaid a dozen Viking ships. Nothing was fitting. I could go into all the ways that they each looked terrible. But there’s no need.
They all just looked terrible.
No matter how I tried, I couldn’t make the art match my vision. And I got to thinking about it. So often in my life, I’m trying to steer my projects to fit the ideas in my head. And once again, I’ve learned the same lesson I always learn:
Part of the creative process is letting go of your vision and allowing art to steer itself.
Be it in painting, music, cooking, or anything creative, you cannot force something that doesn’t feel right. Sometimes, that song doesn’t sound as good with that killer bridge. Sometimes that seasoning doesn’t work with that meal.
And sometimes, a painting doesn’t need more layers.
So it was that my brother-in-law got a simple painting, and that was exactly as it should have been. As we head into a new year, it’s nice to remember the importance of both trying hard, and letting go. It’s a natural and beautiful balance.
However you’re celebrating this week, I hope it’s a safe and wonderful time for you, Reader. See you next Sunday. –Em