A daily drawing practice – something an artist should be able to do just like that (sound effect – snap of the fingers), right? Well, only partially right.

sketch, sketchbook, travel, journal, drawing, sketching

Sketches from my travels.

Artists face the same daily pressures as anyone else, both external and internal. Busy schedules and unexpected interruptions are frustrating but I find that I am my own worst enemy. Every day I face three big obstacles: Perfection, Resistance, and Procrastination; my personal “P.R.P”.

sketch, sketchbook, travel, journal, drawing, sketching

More finished studies in my sketchbooks

Perfection. Resistance. Procrastination.

Perfection. I think a lot of us artists are afraid to even make one tiny mark because if it isn’t ‘perfect’ then we have failed. So we cascade into Resistance. ‘If I can’t be perfect every day then I will resist doing what I can’t be perfect at.’ And then we arrive at Procrastination. I don’t know about you, but I am a master at Procrastination. I could even say that I have perfected the art of procrastination!

sketch, sketchbook, travel, journal, drawing, sketching

Working out ideas for compositions. I am currently working on the tree painting.

“Practice Makes Perfect”

I know it’s an old cliché, but it remains fundamentally true. I started playing the piano and taking lessons when I was three years old. I continued through high school. I remember that I resented and resisted practicing, especially my scales. I can still hear my mother’s voice, “make sure you practice your scales.” While I can still read music and pick my way through a printed piece of sheet music, I have forgotten any pieces that I memorized but I can still play my scales!

More times than I care to admit I have tried to commit to a daily drawing practice so I am challenging myself to do just that. I actually love to draw so I realize it is Perfection that is holding me back. I am going to start today, on the solstice, a day of endings and beginnings. I will attempt to create some sort of drawing (or painting study) every day even if it is just one mark on a piece of paper. I am giving myself wide parameters so that perhaps I will be able to overcome my own personal “P.R.P.” It might just be a thumbnail to work out a new composition or idea, or a quick value study to try and solve a problem with a current painting, a full color study, an entry in my nature journal or even a drawing on my tablet. I hope that with a daily practice I will look forward to my daily appointment with a pencil (or pen, or brush) and be able to move into my day without fear of failure.

I love to work on studies in the field – nothing like being out in the elements!


I hope you will join me on my journey from “Solstice-to-Solstice” for 365 days of celebrating making marks. You can follow along on Instagram at @kellyleahyradding, hashtag #solstice-to-solstice, and Facebook at Kelly Leahy Radding. I would love to hear about your own efforts to overcome your own personal “P.R.P”. Please leave comments here and over at Instagram and Facebook. Better yet, why don’t you commit to joining me in a daily mark-making practice.

Happy Solstice!

Sometimes it’s enough to just ‘Make a Mark.’