For one week, I’ve more or less managed to stick to my plan (working through the book How to See Color and Paint it for January)! Success!
But it hasn’t been effortless. Here are some things I experienced:
On days 5 and 6 I started to get frustrated and feel the weight of the month stretching out ahead of me. I was painting a lemon and felt annoyed that I just couldn’t get the colour right.
It helps to ponder the notion that a large source of our annoyance is the expectation that reality should be any other way than what it is at this moment. Paul Foxton has a great blog post that expands on this idea.
It also helps to remind myself that I committed to this, and it is something I consider meaningful to do, so I need to learn how to enjoy the process even when it’s a bit wobbly.
I heard from two people on Instagram who are seeing my posts and are inspired to try these exercises. We never know how our actions might impact others!
A green block is green, a lemon is yellow, right?
Not exactly, – in fact not even close!
Surprisingly, we are not very good at seeing what is really in front of us. The process for painting these studies is: you look at a spot on your subject through a colour isolator (a grey card with a hole-punch sized hole in the middle). This opens your perception to what is really there, and stops you from being blinded by what you think you know.
In my latest set-up, I had a lemon casting a shadow against a light blue wall. I’d have assumed the shadow would be a darker blue. But looking through my colour isolator, wow, was that shadow ever green! So green, I didn’t believe it. I looked twice, mixed some green paint – and it matched.
This is another really great illustration of something useful when working with people. We read in books on facilitation and leadership that we should let go of our assumptions. But I think often they are so ingrained we can’t even understand they are assumptions. We can’t see the shadow as green, even though it’s right in front of us. Only when we look at it in a different way (with the colour isolator) can we see it as it really is. And once we see it the first time, it’s easier to see it again, and we understand more deeply that things are not always what they seem.
The cube image on this post… I love this cube! I was really happy with the result, and there are a number of spots on this painting that feel special.
Sometimes, even in this first week, I haven’t wanted to stick with this plan. I’ve repeatedly had to remind myself about last week’s military post, and that the alternative is spending time finding other things to paint (time that could be spent just doing these exercises and learning their lessons).
One month is a small amount of time looking backwards! And I know sticking with this will be beneficial. So my goal for week 2 is just keep on keeping on.