I’ve been thinking about the word ‘practice’ because I’ve been doing videos for my three beginner’s online watercolor courses. This is a new venture for me and there are times when I’ve made mistakes which I’ve addressed by repeating the whole video. My husband (Paul) does the editing and I don’t want to make too much work for him, so I do it all in one go.
I’m happy to do it in one go because it maintains a flow, which is in keeping with watercolor. The first video was too slow and laborious; I was talking too much! So I willingly repeated it, knowing I had learned from the first attempt. Half way through the second video, the phone rang. A small voice inside me said, ‘stop, you can’t have a phone ringing in a video.’ I ignored the voice and instead said out loud to whom-ever will be listening, ‘there’s my phone, this is my home and the phone rings sometimes.’ The small voice said, ‘no, you really can’t have a phone ringing in a video, it’s not professional, stop now.’ But I didn’t, I noticed that another part of me felt very reluctant to do the ‘whole thing again.’
The left hemisphere of our brain really doesn’t like ‘practicing’ or repeating things – too boring! So I kept going, somewhat conflicted, but none the less I kept going. Paul, who had been upstairs appeared and waved a note in front of me saying, ‘You can’t have the phone ringing in a teaching video. It’s not professional.’ I knew this all along. Really, I knew it.
So I did it again. All good, I was happy with the result; getting better each time. We played it on our TV and it seemed fine, till Paul said, ‘what’s that hum?’ I hadn’t noticed a hum, but when he drew my attention to it, indeed, there was a hum, a noticeable hum in the background. The gas heater! ‘Oh, it’ll be ok won’t it? No one will notice a hum…’
I’m doing it again this weekend and actually, I’m willing, because this time, we’ll turn off the phones, use an electric heater and I can address the odd little slip up I made in the painting demos, which of course no one would have noticed…
As an artist, I regularly repeat things (over and over sometimes) in my desire to realise the vision that sparks and ignites the creative process. I have an art ‘practice’ which involves mindfulness. I often begin with something that doesn’t come anywhere near the vision and so, move on, opening to the next moment and evolving with each discovery. I just keep going moment to moment, absorbed in the process, till I get close to the vision. Now and again I abandon the painting if it doesn’t satisfy me and accept the ‘failure’ (sometimes I have a hissy fit!) as part of the practice.
Making videos is a new experience for me, so my left hemisphere, which is only comfortable with what it already knows, is resisting the process. I know, through my years of experience as an artist, that it will come on board when it sees there is an outcome to be gained. It takes a conscious effort; a choice, to shift the attention from the resistance of the left, to the openness of the right, moment by moment.
Today I’m doing my video again. I think I can develop a ‘video making practice.’
In my three beginners watercolor courses you can learn how to paint flat washes, glaze and create subtle light tones and luscious darks with exercises and simple autumn leaves. You can learn how to get the results you want with a straight forward watercolour practice.