I heard these two words during my tennis lesson on Saturday and they stopped me mid-swing. Easy power. What we’re looking for is easy power, Gail, tennis instructor said. I asked her to clarify. She went on to explain that the racquet does the work if your body and mind are lined up in the right position. Envision hitting the ball, having your eye on the ball, racquet pointed in correct direction, relaxed grip prepped on handle, follow through on your swing. Basically, show up ready and your body will follow. Subtext: don’t try so hard. Oh, that.
This is up for me right now. The trying. I’ve had a lot of big deadlines, larger projects and commitments and less time for painting and creating just because. This is a blessing and there are no complaints. And it’s a newer way of working where days really count, afternoons playing with a canvas that go nowhere feels more frustrating than fun discovery. And guess what? This is not a fun or productive way of producing art when the clock is ticking! Twice in the last week I’ve spent hours working on two different pieces that failed. When I say fail, I mean, really fail, the stuff that doesn’t get posted, shipped or shown. The stuff that gets painted over and this is coming from someone who is very familiar, comfortable even, in the messy middle, where it seems unsalvageable but if you keep going, the magic happens. There’s a place past that where canvases go to die and when I am on deadline, full admission, I’m not ok with that. Am I trying too hard? Yes. Am I rushing? Maybe. Am I full of expectations of what it “should” look like? Definitely. Am I relaxed? Hell no! What did the tennis lady say? Easy power. My new mantra.
I’m not sure how to incorporate this into the creative life yet—I did just hear it yesterday. But this is it. I know it. Easy power in showing up. Prep my space, my mind, my research, my tools, my end game as best I can. Give myself more time so I don’t choke at the 11th hour. Have plenty of reference tools so I’m not freestyling it willy nilly. Those professional tennis players are hitting that ball with purpose and precision because they have been taught technique. They can go wild on the court because they have years of training. Easy power. There is grace in those words for me that I need to hear right now.
The creative career is fraught with clichés about artists. I’ve tried not to subscribe to those myths. The flip side is that I don’t often take a deliberate break to recharge or reassess where I am in my painting or my business. I’m the queen of just keep going. Isn’t that how life works? Yes, but. I’m feeling the need to stand back a little the way I do for my Saturday lessons and correct my form, listen to an instructor or attend a workshop, incorporate new techniques, be a student. Do the necessary prep work in advance, show up and be relaxed in the outcome.
Easy power. Xoxo
“Love, Love” 8×10” $225 (framed in barnwood)