Do It Again

When you were little, you found something you liked and you did it over and over again, often yelling, “Watch me! Watch me!” If you needed help, you’d finish one round and cheerfully yell “Do it again!” Whether it was jumping into the pool, or pedaling down the block, you loved the work that made you better at what you did. If someone was watching you, it made you even more proud.

Children are great at practicing to get better. Somehow, as we grow up, we want to be able to do things perfectly the first time. OK, we’re patient till the third time. Then, it needs to be just right.

Pear © Quinn McDonald, 2014

Pear © Quinn McDonald, 2014

This weekend, I’m enjoying practicing both the letter collages and the minimalist collage. I love the practice. I love the different effects. I love seeing the result and knowing that some other approach will change the outcome. Are they perfect? Not even on the radar.

High Desert Mesa © Quinn McDonald, 2014

High Desert Mesa © Quinn McDonald, 2014

It’s practice. Practice with the paper and colors and shapes. Practice with larger and more complex subjects, practice with shading and shadows. And mostly, it’s fun to keep experimenting.

Quinn McDonald is practicing collage. Still.

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12 thoughts on “Do It Again

  1. I’ve just had another weekend on my course and in the company of some wonderful women, practising my weaving was fun, and I’m learning so much . . . but what am I going to do with all the mis-shapen items? I’m keepng them small so I don’t waste too many resources even though the flax is free, gowing at the side of the road.

    I feel the same with most practise. I’m happy to do it because I love to learn but I have this nagging little IC that says it should be useful or worthy of display and of course the finished practise items aren’t always . . . they’re completed lessons or samples of learning. My journal is full of practise!

    When I see progression, that’s when it feels so good and the nagging IC shuts up.

    • My heart is SO with you on that–the second you start trying something that is fun or creative, the inner critic shows up and asks how much money you will make and what are you wasting? Lack and attack. It’s the only song the IC knows. I’m glad you had fun and glad you learned. That’s the whole point.

  2. Thank you for reminding me! Your post made me think of Meryl Streep in the role of Julia Child, practicing cutting onions all day long until she managed to cut them like a master chef.
    I like your letter collages and the minimalist collages with the beautiful monsoon? papers a lot!
    Being in the process of creating; one idea leading to the next one and not knowing the outcome; is one of the best feelings I experienced!

  3. I don’t think art is supposed to be perfect. And I don’t think it can be. It’s the imperfections that make it emotional. Those little defects that only the artist is aware of (until he/she points them out) are what make art interesting. How many creative new inventions have happened because of a “mistake”?
    I say “Embrace your imperfections and speed on.”

    • I agree. Practicing doesn’t mean the artwork isn’t emotionally valuable. In fact, practice pieces, which carry no burden, are often far more meaningful than those we sit down to “make.”

  4. I am so bad at expecting perfection in everything I do, and it’s difficult to remember that NOTHING will be perfect. Thanks for the reminder

  5. Practice…I’ve been reminding myself of this lately. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and reinforcing the message.

  6. I think your practice pieces are fantastic! It’s great to have a weekend to just play in the studio! Now that’s the meaning of independence!

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