Apparently, I am graduating in 18 days. It also seems that I have four days of high school left. Seven school days prior to my final day at Herricks, I decided to paint a mural on a wall beside my classroom that has been blank for the entirety of this year. I am not certain what compelled me to finally try my hand at a project that I find absolutely horrifying. I am aware of how pathetic that sounds, and I do wish I had tales to tell of heroic encounters with a more formidable adversary, but at this point in my life, this may be one of the scariest things I have done.
Because the mural has made me absolutely miserable and has required more courage than most of my endeavors in the past, I do expect some type of bountiful reward at the completion of this project. I’m sure that I have already received quite a bit of that reward, but my frustration is probably obscuring it. More so than anything, this experience, at this point in my process, has been extremely humbling. I have always been a bit insecure when it comes to my artwork, but the level of incompetency that has been revealed to me this week is a total smack in the face. I do not know why it is so surprising. I suppose that I always knew I was this incapable, for if I had been more confident in my ability, I would not have avoided this project for four years.
I do recognize, however, that because this is my first experience with a painting of this scale, I should not expect any impressive results. This makes sense, but it does not make it any less embarrassing. I am still being told that I am talented, and that can be frustrating because I feel as though I have been putting in the time. Despite my efforts, I apparently am still relying on talent, though likely not very much talent if I have yet to gain experience. I guess that painting a mural is an endeavor entirely distinct from my other artistic efforts, meaning that mastering this skill would require experience with this specific project and that the other skills I have acquired are simply not transferable. That would be a bit of a relief. I have been in STAC for four years and have been drawing/painting for about six. These are my last days and one might expect a final project like this to represent the culmination of my efforts–something that demonstrates all I have learned and accomplished. Instead, I’m left feeling almost powerless and disappointed as this mural represents stones that I’ve left unturned and reminds me that I haven’t actually gotten anywhere. I know that is why I’ve been upset. My disappointment has absolutely nothing to do with my initial desire to create a graphic mural.
Now for a bit of positivity! All that I have stated above has been so discouraging that it can be difficult to find the silver lining. On this Sunday morning, I can think of a few silver linings, and I am hopeful that they will grow more apparent once this project is behind me and I am no longer taking myself so seriously.
When I returned home after doing the mural yesterday, I decided to continue working on my current painting on an 18″ x 24″ canvas. I felt as though I was painting a Post-it note. For me personally, regardless of the actual results, this mural is a gigantic leap. I typically work in my sketchbook. I have been reluctant to hang a 9″ x 12″ illustration in the hallway at school. The size of the mural terrified me, as well as the mural’s presence in the hallway where anyone can see it. I believe that by doing this, I have, in a sense, conquered both fears and that is incredibly cool. I am left wondering how this might affect my approach to all of the projects that fall somewhere in the middle, like a 20″ x 24″ canvas, 24″ x 36,” 30″ x 40,” or 36″ x 48.” What about a window display? This seems like an entirely effective way to stimulate progress, for if I had not worked on the mural, I would continue working toward such a project in small increments, and that sounds a bit lame. So there’s that.