A man that I work with at my day job was asking me what I meant by the slogan on my T-shirts, “Relax and Squint”. His comment went something like, “How is it possible to relax, then squint. That doesn’t seem right. What good does that do?” Well, just ask one of my art students. If you don’t learn anything else from me, you’ll learn that! And I will call you out to answer that question in class…”What are the 2 most important things an artist needs to remember?”
To a non-artist, I’m sure the thought seems irrelevant. Well, look at it this way…RELAX! Not to pressure anyone but I mean it when I say “relax”. We all need to lighten up a little, all the time. It is soooo important when you are creating a piece of artwork. If you go into the job uptight, tense, and inhibited it just won’t work.
You know, like when you were young and wanted to draw really, really, really, well and you pressed the pencil down really hard and you made a really dark mistake and you tried to erase and you ripped the paper and you cried because it…..wait a minute, that’s what I’m talking about! (Also, a glimpse of my perfectionist childhood) Just like in life!
Squinting is a separate action. A well trained artist squints all the time when they’re working. It simplifies what they see. Details are diminished and only the important information is left to translate to the 2 dimensional surface. We are so fortunate to have that filter because things can look so much simpler.
So the next time you create, literally “Relax and Squint!” And try it in your everyday life in the metaphorical sense. It simplifies things. So do it…and buy the T-shirt here!
And by the way, I also tell my students, “When you’re rich and famous, you’ll thank me.” No one has yet.