I have been cooped up at home for the past four months due to COVID-19. At first, I, like many other eager first-year college students, was discouraged at the fact that I would not be getting my “full college experience.” However, I begrudgingly accepted that my health and safety were my priority and hunkered down in my bedroom.
After spending hours upon hours sitting at home and staring at the ceiling, I had the bright idea to make the most of my time in self-isolation. I quit twiddling my thumbs and decided to learn something new. Little did I know, those particular skills would prove to help me flourish both creatively and mentally.
I had been watching countless YouTube videos on creators “getting their life together” or “maxing out their productivity” during quarantine, and thought “I could do that!”, so I picked myself up off my bedroom floor and got to work.
I made it my mission to start painting. I’m taking an art class in the fall, and I thought what better way to get ahead on my art prowess than to begin painting over the summer. I ordered a shiny new gouache set on Amazon, new paintbrushes, and pristine watercolor paper.
I knew that starting a skill as intimidating as a painting would prove to be no easy task. I’d taken a couple of art classes in high school, but aside from those, I had no real experience in painting. Nevertheless, I got to work, trying to make as much art as possible, regardless of how it looked. I was of the mindset that as long as I kept practicing, I would eventually make some progress. I started slowly, looking up painting tutorials on YouTube of basic techniques: how to hold your brush, how much water to use, how to mix colors and the fundamentals of color theory. My first couple of attempts were underwhelming, but I was just excited that I had made something.
As I kept practicing over the weeks, sitting in my room alone while the world continued to get crazier and crazier, I found myself slowly, but surely, getting better. It took quite a lot of practice and patience, but I compared my work at the beginning of May and to my work from the end of June, and I realized that there was a stark difference. I had improved.
I’m still very much a beginner, but I can safely say that I have learned how to hold a brush correctly, and maybe know a thing or two about how to mix colors. However, the essential skills I cultivated spending weeks sitting behind my desk creating, were that of patience, persistence, and chasing the reckless ambition to try new things.