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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on frustration

    (This is a long read, you might wanna skip the intro. Otherwise feel free to read, I'm just rambling on about today)

    Hey all.

    So I woke up today and just felt generally good about the fact that it was sunday and that I had all the day to myself. Since I was just beggining to learn how to paint, I woke up with the urge to be painting and getting to work on something. I bought a set of acrylics about two weeks ago and I'm having a great time with them. On top of that, I did my first comission work and got paid 25$ US dollars, which converted to Argentina's current equivalent is was about 75 pesos. Each acrylic cost 2.50 pesos so I ended up spending 43 pesos in painting materials (7 tubes of acrilyc, 2 brushes, and some paper). Argentina's economy is devaluated, so american dollars are worth nearly three times our local money equivalent (used to be 1 dollar = 1 peso, now its 1 dollar = 2.98 pesos)

    So I was just feeling like sketching but soon I remembered the acrylics and got the urge to paint. So far I've made a few tries, just head studies. They suck quite a bit, but they're not that bad considering I'm just beggining to learn how to paint, so I have a really long way to go. And I'm enjoy every step of they way. Even though my paintings so far suck, I'm still quite happy with them and it was fun to do them, I really enjoyed it and I'm really enjoying the process of learning. I feel like I'm discoverying and experimenting a lot of new things.
    So here I was, with a face I drew the day before and had began to work on. I had already applied the base color, and painted another lair of the same mix just in case, and to give it a little more strength like my teacher told me. Then I de-saturated the mix a bit with a yellow and began working on the lights. I left it there and now I woke up today and I was mixing yet a brighter yellow to bring out the lighter areas even more. It turned out pretty bad, I screwed up on it I think. Mostly the forehead, the cheeks are sorta ok (considering my newbie-ness). I left that to dry for a bit, and went to the kitchen.
    All of the sudden I got this image in my head of this dragon flying across a volcanic lake, with perspective, comp, everything, awesome lighting, colors, anatomy, everything. I though, how cool would it be if I could actually turn that idea onto paper? So I fiddled around with the idea a bit more and I grabbed a piece of paper, the one I bought for painting. Stupid me I didnt even felt like making thumbnails or sketches first, I just wanted to see those colors! So here I was, rushing myself up on the sketch, constantly erasing and mirroring the paper, turning it upside down and looking at it through light, and surprise surprise, it was hideous. Full of mistakes, this one REALLY sucked. The perspective was weird and distorted. Composition was a disaster, I went for a circle being formed by the wings and the body being an "S" shape and it was a real pain trying to make both a coherent comp with the right perspective, it ended in utter, aweful disaster. I wanted a snake-like neck and turned out its head was coming out of his chest, NO neck at all, the mouth looked like Tucan Sam's beak, and the tail was just scribbled sloppyly and getting lost with all the perspective guidelines. I thought about the image I had mentalized moments ago and I looked at what I had drawn. I felt really disapointed, and when I tried to correct it, it just made it worse so I just got really frustrated because I didnt know what to do to achieve the picture I wanted so badly.
    I left the sketch alone and went on to paint another face. Around the second layer of de-saturated base color I just grabbed the damn thing and wrecked it up and threw it in the garbage.
    You gotta understand, it has been over a year and a half since I threw away something. I used to throw away stuff all the time and get frustrated and bitter ever time I tried to draw.
    With time and with my teachers aid this faded away and I grew more and more happy with what I was producing. I also learned to calm down and not take everything so bloody seriously, I got more relaxed when I sketched and eventually I just sketched on a daily basis. Everything I did, I saved away in my folders. Even if it had mistakes, I still liked them. And even if they were really bad and didnt like them, I still just saved them. I look at the things I made some time ago, and its nice to see in what way I have changed or loosend up. I'm glad I didnt throw them away.
    Still, every now and then I have to clean out my folders because the get very crammed up, I hardly have any more space and I cant close them shut all the way. So at those moments I throw away the stuff I consider rubish, and the rest, I keep saving. But thats throwing away based on thoughtful consideration and just being practical. Today, for the first time in over a year, I threw away something based on a histerical, frustrated fit.
    I got a bit sad thinking "what if I really didnt progress anything in all these years?" "What if I NEVER progress at all?" So I was bitter as pickle. And I was watching TV.
    Later I came back down and looked at the dragon sketch, thinking I was gonna throw that one out too. I was surprised when I looked at it and thought it wasnt really that bad. Sure, it had a billion errors, HORRENDOUS mistakes. But it was ok. It was ok that it wasn't perfect. It wasn't utterly garbage either. I dont feel like throwing it away now, when we get together in course, I feel I must show my teacher and partners not just the pieces I'm proud of, but also the ones that are very much displeasing. Otherwise, it would only be a part of me. And it can be ver stressing to think you ALWAYS have to make good stuff. I make a lot of crap. A lot. But I'm happy with it. Not all the crappy drawings I make are 100% trash, and not all the nice pieces I make are 100% correct. There's always room for mistakes, which means there is always room for learning and refining and progressing. That thought made me quite happy, and I rested asured now.

    Later I drew some conclusions from this experience. I belive one gets frustrated when you cannot achieve what you are wanting to achieve. Today, I realize that what I was trying to draw was way ahead of my level, and so naturally I didnt get the results I was wishing for or had fantasized about. How the hell was I gonna make those great colors when I dont know a single thing about palettes and just began painting two weeks ago? Also, I have plenty of issues regarding both perspective and composition, its still something that is quite problematic when I sketch. It was no surprise then that I didn't nail these two things like I would have wanted on my dragon sketch. Also the anatomy was terrible, but I also realize that I dont know much about reptile anatomy. I've never drawn a reptile or lizard, so there's no mental reference for me to borrow from. Knowing these things motivates me to keep practicing them and learning them.

    So thats about it... this is long enough for me to be adding more to this. I just wanted to cathartically post my experience with frustration today. I guess the important thing is to remember not to always try and make things beyond your current level. But give it a shot from time to time... its interesting what you can learn from your experience. Every step counts. Don't get discouraged! Just take it easy and enjoy the process of making art, it can be so increadibly rewarding. It is at least for me. I dont ever wanna quit. Work hard to be the best you can be, and draw every day!

    Sincerly,
    Martin

    P.S: There is so much talent on this site and so many wonderful people, its a joy ever time I visit! Wishing us all the best of luck.
    Last edited by brokk; July 5th, 2004 at 03:24 AM.


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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    hey martin, I'm glad you're still trying....
    Keep it up and keep practicing..

    La verdad martin, creo que la frustracion es parte del aprendizaje y superarlo es la mejor y mas dificil parte de todo. Pero que en algun punto te das cuenta que algo se progresa y estoy seguro que con el empeño que le pones eso va a llegar mas pronto de lo que te esperas.....
    Segui los consejos que se dan comunmente aqui, inspirate, que es algo bastante facil aqui en CA y dibuja lo mas que puedas....

    Suerte y nos vemos algun dia en el MSN...
    -Diego

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