December 10th, 2017 by Jan

“Some practices are measured not by the miles we put in or the number of reps we complete, but by the mental muscle it takes simply to show up.”

I have no idea who said this. I found it in my notes. It’s a good reminder. Those words help as I’m doing my best to learn something new, and man-oh-man… learning is hard!

I find I must show up each day, and want to or not — I need to put in the time. So, pretty or not, I paint at least one picture every day.

I’ve had two lessons in watercolour painting now, and as in almost everything in life, I’m not a natural. Learning is frustrating to say the least, and I am so not a fan of my results.

Alas, I’m only a month or so into this 10 year practice. And because I’ve given 10 years of practice to several other arts – I know I will get better… if I keep showing up.

Practice doesn’t make perfect — it makes easier.

I was reminded the other day when I showed a friend how to spin wool. I warned her, it would be hard. I have the memory of learning to spin, and cussing my way through broken bulky, uneven, sloppy, and unusable yarn.

Sure enough, she struggled. I did not take it for granted, when I could step in and help.

I learned to spin as part of rehab when I hurt my leg in 1992. My friend Doe got me going. I cussed in frustration for a long time, both because learning to spin is hard AND my leg didn’t work so well.

I’m not an expert spinner these days, not by a long shot, but, after 25 years of practice, I can make some nice yarn. The Louet wheel I’ve used for all those years, has some nice bells and whistles, plus, it was part of a barter deal I made for tai chi lessons. A good score all around.

The other day, I bought a new spinning wheel. Not because I need one, but because I could not pass up a pretty fantastic deal. It’s a double peddle Ashford Joy. In comparison to the Louet – it’s a bit of a sports car. It spins wool like butter and has different bells and whistles than the Louet.

More than the fancy dancy new wheel though, the pay off has been in time. I can spin fairly well today, no matter the wheel. That’s because I continued to practice.

So, I have great hope, that one day, maybe in a mere 10 years… I’ll be able to paint a pretty picture without too much frustration.

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