This weekend was my first experience drinking + painting. It was awesome. The margaritas and acrylic paint just flowed. The class was learning to paint the Denver skyline, but I decided to do my own thing and paint a funky owl for my baby daughter’s bedroom.
Prior to arriving at Whimsey Sip + Paint in Erie, CO (which by the way, I highly recommend) I figured everyone would readily unleash their most creative badass with ease, given the social setting and the booze flowing. Most people did just that, and had a blast.
But my friends and I also overheard quite a few people getting frustrated. These ladies seriously wanted to be perfect painters, which our gaggle found amusing as we hacked away at our respective masterpieces.
I found it a little sad. If they are so hard on themselves over drunken art class, what else is their inner critic saying in other areas of life?
There are 3 steps to unleashing your creativity, and I’ll use my funky owl as an example in breaking it down:
Step #1: Establish a clear vision, by setting a tactical and an emotional goal.
What needs to be accomplished with your project? And how do you want yourself and others to feel once it is finished? Mine was to create a painting that my daughter would look at for years to come, and be reminded that I love her every time she sees it.
Step #2: Create from a place of authenticity.
I’m no artist, but I love this whimsical owl. She feels very authentic to the spirit of my daughter. Both Phoebe and the owl are silly, wide-eyed and full of magical wisdom. As I painted, I just thought of her spirit. I kept catching myself smiling.
At one point my spirit suggested I paint a sun, but then my mind stepped in and said, “Hey, if you do that you might screw up the whole thing.” But being in an authentic space of free-flowing creativity, I knew my daughter would like a sun so I just did it. (and I love that part of the painting now)
Step #3: Give yourself permission to suck.
One of my favorite authors is named Anne Lamott. Her book, Bird by Bird, is a must-read for any aspiring author) She talks about the importance of writing a shitty first draft. So not only does she ask writers to give themselves permission to suck, but she actually makes it an assignment to purge the crap. But guess what happens during this exercise? You create freely with no judgement, because it’s INTENDED to be bad. In my experience, it turns out kinda awesome because it is wholly AUTHENTIC and purely you. After it’s on paper in all its shit-tastic glory, all you have to do is edit.
So in summary…
Get clear. Be you. And suck with reckless abandon! You may not end up with something “perfect” in the eyes of others, but it will be perfect for you.