When I started out I felt bold. Full of energy and inspiration. I was going to draw and not mind what it looked like. I was just going to 'do it'.
As I stood taking down the scene before me, frantically mark making and smudging the mud around, dipping in puddles to dissolve the graphite stick, I began to unravel. It looked awful. I couldn't feel any pleasure from what I'd drawn at all.
I moved on to another and another, all in different spots. All the same. Awful. Why? Was the book too small, too restrictive? Was it because I was standing up, uncomfortably? Was I too unrelaxed because we couldn't get to the quiet, secluded places I really like because there were cows in the field? Was I trying too hard to 'make a drawing' rather than just sketch: I know I did have a thought about how valid abstract marks are against making an image and why this still bothers me after so long....
I don't know.
I just wanted to share the experience though because it affected my whole mood. It dropped me down into a bit of a spiral of doubt (quickly batted away, luckily, but it was close) about my whole career and my self worth. And this is the most interesting thing about drawing for me at the moment, how I can possibly use it to understand myself and utilise it as a tool for dealing with emotions, difficult habits of thought and self esteem.
As I was walking back I went and stood in a bird hide and looked out at the view. It was remarkable. The leaves of the woods covering the hill were bright in yellows and oranges. The water on the marshland was glassy. I was taking it in with my eyes and they were drawing. There was no reason to commit it to paper. I couldn't have captured adequately what I saw. It was too ephemeral, magical, momentary. I have the dodgy sketches to remind me of the main drawing in my mind. And that's enough to make me like them a little.
And the lesson? Keep going? Maybe. Feel that vulnerability and accept it.
Keep drawing through it all, whether on paper or not and notice how it feels to let go but not give up.