I’m a control freak.
Oh wait…I should back up a bit because I’m practising awareness of how I label myself. Control freak is a bit negative.
I like to have control over situations. Sometimes I need to have control.
This is something I’ve become aware of over the past few years. Control is safe, right?
It really came out when I was doing a workshop that involved horses. The idea was to release control and work with the horses in their way, not ours.
In one task I had to lead a horse around a small obstacle course. On foot.
I really wanted to do well. I’ve been around horses for years now and while there’s no way I’d call myself an expert, I do know which end is up and which end to avoid.
So I took the lead rope, stood to the left and started leading.
We were going to do that course and do it well, damn it!
Have I also mentioned that I might be highly competitive? I need to work on that too!
The instructor stopped me and asked me to look at what I was doing.
I was doing awesome! I was dragging that horse through the course regardless of how he felt about it.
Dragging. The. Horse.
There was no partnership. There was no consideration. I had full control and that was that.
It was exhausting.
I had to do the course again, this time with my hand lower on the lead rope and without dragging my equine partner.
I had to release control and release myself from my outcome expectations.
We did the course again, together. Maybe the time wasn’t as fast but I wasn’t carrying the full load of horse plus myself through it. And I enjoyed it more the second time.
Control is a lesson that comes up in art a lot.
Sure I have control over a lot of aspects, but there’s a lot that I don’t control too.
The times when paintings just don’t turn out no matter what I do.
The times when I wished I could paint in a different style. Realism. Or smoother. Whatever.
You know what happened when I released control over my art?
The style you see now.
The neon colours. The lumpy brush strokes. The raw emotion.
And you know what? I love it so damn much.