Florence, Day 8: A Journey Within: Sometimes You Do Need to Run Away

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The urge to paint has been strong. Yes, I’m here to study art, and I have been, but I’ve been playing with my pencil, experimenting with some oil sticks and watercolor. But my acrylics lay waiting. And that is my medium of choice.

I woke up sore, a good sore, the kind that comes from going and going, walking, then walking some more. So, I had to decide: a day trip to Siena or paint. Siena sounded oh-so-lovely, but my sore feet were less enthusiastic. Knowing I have three more weeks gave me the boost to stay in, set up a “studio” and paint.

I’m not sure why, but whenever I’m studying my craft, I don’t do my best work. I think it’s partially an identity crisis. What I mean by this is, you’re learning new things that make you approach your work differently. I think it’s partly just getting used to those new things.

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There is also the being away part. Out of my studio, my habits, my regular systems. Sure, everywhere you go, there you are, and all that, but still: Changing your surroundings shakes things up, makes you look at things differently. It’s all good, but also adds to the out-of-my-element feeling with my work.

All I know for sure is I only left the house today for provisions, and yet I went on a journey: one within. The kind that often shows up when you’re away and your senses are assaulted in that beautiful way that new surroundings provide.

I need to believe my own words to my students when I teach. Things like, “You won’t do your best work; don’t expect to. It’s about the process. Be in the moment with your work and detach from the outcome.” Reminding myself, as I do my students: “Get out of your own way and let the art happen.”

I’m not sure how well I did at this, I only know I committed to the process, honored my time with my craft and finished happy in my soul. That, after all, is the most important bit: the commitment to the work and the process.

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