About Being an Obsessive Compulsive Lifelong Learner
Well, there was pottery, cooking and meditation. Let's discuss a few of these shall we? There is a certain power in a new beginning and the passion to see it through the end. Do you sometimes wake up in the morning wanting to make something or build something or clean something(depending on what your compulsion is) or finish a task you started? Do you feel restless when you don’t? I have many of those days and I blame it on my obsessive compulsive need to learn something new. Be it learning to draw with a new medium or a new recipe the childlike excitement takes over.
I also attribute this urge to learn to the household where I grew up where food and learning were a big part of our every day. Cooking a three course meal by the time you were in your sophomore year of high school was not an unusual thing. You start chopping when you are eight, butchering and deboning when you were ten and the rest is history. My family loved eating and feeding people so it was difficult to stay away from it even if you wanted to. I truly believe that cooking is an art as it impacts your mood and has therapeutic effects. So when it is one of those days when you are frustrated with your creative block or lack of focus I still turn to cooking.
Cooking is also about being communal. Even before we started a family we have always been surrounded by people who share their love for food and art. I don’t remember the times I cooked a meal for myself and ate without sharing without a neighbor or a friend. Very similar to art which is about building relationships, a community of artists and collectors who can give back to the community.
Now let's talk about pottery. What started as an impulsive registration for a few classes with a best friend turned out to be another creative outlet. Don’t get me wrong, while I am still biased to my charcoal and paintings I am secretly planning a small set up at home for my clay cravings. Below is the picture of one of my very first pieces. So many possibilities.
Haven't we all started somewhere with something, felt frustrated during the low points, looked back and felt how far we have come since the beginning and then moved on? Well, there were many such moments along the way. I kept telling myself you can’t keep doing what you are doing and want to be the best. So many sucky dishes and some lopsided bowls later my eyes still light up when I see an interesting new recipe or a piece of pottery on a coffee table magazine. I have realized artists can be overly sensitive and harder on themselves. Instead of looking for validation from external sources it's important to start believing in yourself and continue honing the skills.
Learning includes learning from other artists, getting inspired from their artwork, blogs and perspectives. There are many who attended art school and learned all the techniques the right way under great teachers. Then there are others who didn’t find the right time and place to pursue an art education but chipped away at it with a lot of gratitude to forge the path for themselves. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities, the people and the paint brushes that came along the way to set me up on this path.
I say this with all the humbleness in this world that I will stay a lifelong learner constantly striving to get better at the work I do. I promise to show growth in my artistic journey in a very authentic way so it's not just about being good but genuine.
Leaving you with this, Michelangelo said “I am still learning”...at the age of 87.