December 2, 2016

Letting go of expectations

All I ever wanted to do was paint.

From the age when most kids put down their crayons and turn to other interests, I was painting and writing and creating whole worlds.

I wasn’t very good at it. Most kids aren’t. But kids know something we adults don’t: the end result doesn’t matter; the process is the whole point.

I call this the journey of creating. And when things get hairy, I often think of it as a train passing through Shitsville, and I really hope the train doesn’t stop there for long!

I know kids, especially young ones, don’t care about the outcome for their art. They’re not thinking of hanging it over the couch or being good at something. They are enjoying the feel of paint on their hands, the press of wax on paper.

They create in the moment.

When my oldest kid was two, she had a hunger to paint. I hauled out all my art supplies and starting planning something big and fun.

The kid wasn’t interested in the plan. She wanted to wrap her toddler fists around pencils and markers. To spread paint everywhere and if she happened to walk through it, all the better.

I was forced to set aside my expectations and just create in the moment.

Try it yourself! As an adult, it’s really hard to set aside the outcome and enjoy the process. We want our time to mean something, our efforts to be effective. We attach ourselves to the ideal.

And when that happens, creativity and spontaneity dies.

Some of my best pieces, transitional pieces that changed my style, happened because I stopped focusing on the end result.

Painting’s not working? Add orange. It can’t get any worse. And surprise! It got so much better.

Blue not standing out? Pink on top is a burst of intensity.

Playing colours against each other. Seeing what happens. Enjoying the journey. The end result just becomes the bonus.

I think we need to do that more. We need to stop making every moment count for something. Every effort showing results. Every breath having deeper meaning.

Sometimes we just need to play and let the results be what they will be.

Want to try it for yourself?

I’m holding only ONE painting class this December and it’s coming up fast. If you’re in the London Ontario area, it’s worth coming to my studio to play with paint.

It’s a safe and fun environment where you can unlock your creative soul.

Details right here.