Restarting after a long break

Friday 28th June 2013

I have been unable to continue with the course since January, initially, I think, this was more due to a lack of confidence over my ability to be able to be able to come up to standard with the 2nd assignment. I reached the point where I had lost all the joy in drawing and I ended up stopping drawing entirely, deciding to give myself a short break to gain some perspective. As so often happens, life had other ideas, health became decidedly problematic and a short break turned into a very long one. With things finally beginning to settle in late June thoughts once again turned to the course. With such a long break it appeared very unlikely that I could finish the course in the remaining time and the spectre of the second assignment was still very much there, added to which I hadn’t drawn a thing for months. I had a look back through the work I had done for parts one and two and it helped to crystallise why I was on the course in the first place. Yes, I hoped to work towards a degree but that wasn’t the main reason, the main reason was that I wanted to learn and to develop my drawing skills, to attempt things that I had not tried before, to develop as much as I could, and sadly a lack of confidence was preventing me from joyfully exploring. At the back of my mind, the thought was never far away, that quite simply I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t degree material, and that the drawings would have to go for assessment, and I found that made it difficult for me to just go for it, bad drawing or good drawing, to keep in mind that what did it matter, that what mattered was what I had learnt, was I developing, growing with my drawing.

I decided that the first thing was to decide whether or not I actually wanted to continue with the course and that was a definite yes I would, even if it turns out that there isn’t time to complete, I would like to learn as much as I can. The second thing I decided was that I would have to recognise that I am my own worst enemy, that a lack of confidence at present is pretty crippling, and that to be able to continue I would need to take some of the pressure off, enabling me to find the enjoyment of the course again and that led me to consider whether to move from doing the course towards a degree, to doing the course for personal development. And in the end, after a lot of thought and weighing up options, that seemed to be the best option for me, for where I am at present.

I rang the OCA on the 27th June to find out where I stood as to starting the course up again, because I wasn’t sure even if I could after such a long break, and the answer was yes as I have two years to complete.  We also discussed much of what I have said above and they were very helpful. And to cut a long story short I have moved from the degree path to the personal development path. And at present that feels that right thing to do and the most realistic course of action for me.

For the last couple of days I have just tried a couple of quick sketches in my A5 sketchbook. With both drawings I tried for rapid and loose, to keep the pen moving constantly, to vary the marks, to think about light and shade etc. I was aiming for energetic with the drawings, I seem to have rather achieved scruffy instead but it is good to be trying to draw again, and is a start towards getting back into the course.

a5 sketchbook1_NEW a5 sketchbook2_NEW

So, the next step is the second assignment.

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2 Responses to Restarting after a long break

  1. mags says:

    Chris, it’s so good to see you back here! I empathise absolutely with all you say here. Lack of confidence can be crippling, and serves no useful purpose at all. Learning is what it’s all about… I’m working on reminding myself of that regularly. I wish you all the best for the rest of the course. The two drawings here are lovely – I especially like the landscape. It’s great to see you drawing again.

    • christedder says:

      Hello Mags, thank you very much for your comment, I really appreciate it, it is good to be back. And thank you for your post on comments or else I would not have thought to look in the spam folder, which, as you said, is where wordpress had sent your comment. The drawings you are doing Mags are absolutely beautiful and I really like how you are doing your compositions. Thank you very much again, Chris

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