The skill I've used most in my life is probably writing. Journals, business writing, curricula, grants, fiction, poetry, resumes and cover letters, publicity, journalism, letters, now blogs. There may even be more examples that have slipped my mind. But writing is arduous. For the most part, it is a slow process to create the first draft, and sometimes the editing borders on painful. Creating art is not like that. I suppose it's a left brain-right brain thing. When I move away from my to-do list and out of my chattering mind, I can play with the myriad of tools and materials and collected ephemera in my craft studio. When I approach my old art table with a "let's see what happens" today attitude, that's when I lose my self in "the zone."
On the weekend I took a three hour watercolor workshop with Susan Lingg through the North Carolina Arboretum's Adult Education Fine Arts Program. She was an inspirational role model ("remember to breathe, get excited about your chance to play with color...."), an experienced technician ("drag the paint away from the dab, soak it in the puddle, scoop the water like a duck going down for a fish...."), and an enthusiastic coach ("that's good, see what you've got there?").
While there, I was uncertain about what I was doing. I had always shied away from watercolor, acrylic being so much more forgiving as you can hide your mistakes by layering on more paint. But Susan made it fun and I allowed myself to experiment. It was an exercise of left brain student meets right brain artist. Jangling, but do-able.
Yesterday I played at my own table. I finished the two cards we began at the workshop and dabbled a little on my own. Hmm, not terrible and definitely more freeing than I expected. I may even buy a few tubes of professional grade paint.