Learning To Loosen My Grip

Posted on: August 21st, 2017 by jmbroekman 4 Comments

Above and at right are snapshots of the studio painting wall with a few of the small 4″ x 6″ oil sketches done on the note card flat-backs. For more of the sunflowers, click here!.

Learning to loosen my dog-with-a-bone grip on everything.

It is a battle of internal wills. My procrastinator side has been winning these last few weeks, but I’m hopeful that today, finally, the get-it-done side will prevail. The procrastinator within has had some good arguments: why do I need to do this post anyway? do you really think anyone is going to read it and be helped by it? it’s summer, there are so many better ways to spend your time. The list goes on. But in truth, I need to formulate some ideas for the possibility of having to give an artist’s talk on Great Cranberry Island next month. I’d like to be better prepared than I felt I was last year to make a public presentation.

So maybe this will be the start of a few fast and furious posts, on a blog that has been long neglected. Or at least, maybe I will finally get this one posted. Which, if you are actually reading this, will prove to be the case!

Learning to loosen my grip and getting it right – two sides of the same coin

This may very well be a continuation of the “getting it right” post from earlier this year. Learning to loosen my ironclad grip on trying to get it right. Loosen my grip on the pencil, the bow, the neck of the cello. Cello lessons applied in the studio. Trying to relax that illusory hold on controlling the world at large.

In the past few weeks in an effort to loosen my grip, I’ve been making small quick oil sketch paintings on leftover note card flat backs. The waste-not-want-queen is alive and well; as is the Avis girl. It’s the latter that I am attempting to put on a train to elsewhere. She’s the one who can’t give up trying harder. Holding on with all her might. Using leftover scrap materials (the flat-backs that go in the packs of note cards to describe what’s in the pack), is my way of making a stab at caring less. It’s decidedly not-beautiful paper, so who cares if what I put down works or can be called a painting with a capital P? Inevitably this is what I need – an attitude of “so what”. It’s the attitude that frees up space in my head so that courage and curiosity have a void to fill. I take bigger chances; allowing myself to just go for it with abandon––loosen the grip on what I think it should be, what I want it to look like. Finally let it be whatever it wants to be. Using scrap materials, crummy paper, pushes me to be quick, loose and decisive, and most importantly not so labored. It is about letting go of all that tightly held effort.

Now maybe I can go out and enjoy some of the rest of the summer!


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4 Responses

  1. Amy says:

    Good for you Jessyca.

    We have discussed this as women, artists, caretakers, and it is a hard lesson.

    You could give your talks on just that and it would be so well received.

    Be well,


    • jmbroekman says:

      Thanks, Amy. Yes, it is a difficult lesson – one that may take me an entire lifetime to learn. But just working on it is progress in and of itself, I hope.

  2. Otto Verdoner says:

    Hello Jessyca.
    You and I are struggling with similar issues. For me the desperate need to control everything comes from the bottomless fear of making a mistake. I have finally traced that fear to what happened when I was three: My universe disappeared. The known world, mother, father, siblings, home, grandparents – all gone in an instant. At that age we believe that we cause everything that happens. Ever since then I have been deathly afraid of making ANY mistake. That fear has lead to paralysis of action, also called procrastination. I am on the verge of doing some reading to help bolster my explanation. I’ll keep you posted. Sending you Peace, Love, and Appreciation. Otto.

    • jmbroekman says:

      Hello Otto:

      Yes, unlearning those lessons learned so early in life can be hard work. I liken it to trying to rid the garden of invasive plants. Just when you think you have gotten the roots of one plant, and all the extended tendrils of that root system, up pops another little green shoot right behind you. I figure even if I never rid the garden of all those unwanted weeds, if I continue to make some space for new brighter/sunnier plants eventually there may be more of those than the the darker less productive ones. That’s what progress looks like. -Jessyca

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