Drawing And Writing Without Pants

Happy new year! I hope 2016 is humming along nicely for you so far. We had some fun family-and-friend time, but I also got really tired for about four weeks. I think I’m recovering, but man-oh-man I do not like feeling so fatigued.

Nevertheless, I’ve stuck with my commitment to draw daily for one full year. It’s been 46 days, and I’ve managed to draw for 40 of them. In the past, that would have felt like failure, and after the first or second missed day, I’d have called it quits. Now, however, as perfectionism slowly recedes from my life, I see this as a great success. I have 40 more sketches than I would have had, new ideas, and a few surprises like this forlorn fellow.

I’ve also started writing “morning pages” because Rebecca Rebouché, a painter  interviewed in Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon, said the practice has become the “most important element” in her art and her life.  Oliver Burkeman sums up the process Julia Cameron describes in The Artist’s Way. I liked his slightly snarky approach to the practice that totally wins him over as it seems to do for everyone who tries it.

I don’t write daily but even three times a week has clarified details for Carrot Condo projects and set goals for 2016 in a much more concrete and achievable way than I’ve been able to do in the past.

I may also try meditating every weekday for 15 minutes for Lent, but I haven’t decided for sure yet. I think the current lesson here is: Hurrah for #365daysofpractice !! Daily practice is really effective for me, even on days when I begrudge it or spend barely 60 seconds drawing. Even that has yielded results and primed creative muscle.

Lastly, and surprisingly related, is the fact that I really need new pants. The few I have fit poorly, look bad, and are old. However, nothing fits. I mean, truly, nothing. I don’t know why, and I do not want to spend the time or the money shopping for pants. In dramatic, exasperated fashion, I sighed to my husband: “Well, I guess I’ll just wear skirts. Forget pants.”

Well, duh. Why not? I have skirts left over from my teaching days. It seems sort of overly fancy to wear a skirt while hanging out at home with my kiddo and going for walks around the neighborhood, but for the last two days, it’s worked, and it reminded me of what I learned in “Kk: Kitchen, Using What You’ve Got,” that limitation can inspire invention. If I can manage to stop resisting limitations and problems and see them as creative opportunities, my mind opens up.

I mean, it’s not genius to start wearing skirts, but it shifted my perspective–what else can I out-maneuver? What other path or method might I discover if I stop lamenting that I lack the one I wish to have? What else can I re-vision in my life?

So, here’s to a dynamic and fulfilling 2016 to all of you trying to make the world a kinder, more generous, more creative place, and to all your daily practices, whether you wear pants or not.


#365daysofpractice = use this to tag updates about your daily effort so we can find you in various social media platforms.


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4 Responses to Drawing And Writing Without Pants

  1. Sarah Olijnyk says:

    Trista Hello! first of all thankyou for letting me loosen my own perfectionist elastic by declaring a halt to your 365 day plan. It is all perception isn’t it, and defined by ourselves. when we let go of it we don’t fall into a saggy mess but arise like a phoenix. I am sorry for your fatigue.

    skirts are fine except they can get in the way when climbing etc. some women here in australia just seem to wear leggings or tights. they seem happy. who do we think is watching and assessing us and why do we accept that anyway? one of my guiding principles is to have very few mirrors especially full length. i try to do my hair in front of the bathroom mirror but only really worry about it when i am going into a situation in which i feel judgement of my appearance will hinder my cause and now i am grey haired and old very few people seem to notice me let alone judge.

    I have started adjusting tshirts by just cutting off the arms – i had 2 which were comfortable except that the sleeves always hung too low so now they are flatteringly (to me) elbow length thanks to scissors.

    i have to stop this now and get back to responsible life.

    i love your work. Sarah x

    • TRISTA says:

      Once again, I love your comment, Sarah! I think we have a lot in common. I laughed out loud when I read what you wrote about skirts, because I just bumped into the climbing dilemma when I took my kiddo to the park. Alas. I also don’t have a lot of mirrors in the home (and no scales) and like it that way. Most importantly, you’re right about letting go and not falling into a “saggy mess.” I’m really working on that: acceptance. When I manage it, I am much happier. Thanks for reading!!

  2. Alex Hurst says:

    I’ve turned to skirts recently, too, because I can’t seem to get proper pants in Japan. At least in my American hips size. 😛 Congratulations on sticking with your every day project. Have you considered filling a moleskin journal? A lot of artists have made some pretty impressive portfolios that way! 🙂 How is your coloring book doing?

    • TRISTA says:

      Hi, Alex! I visited your website recently–it looks so nice! And I loved your guest post about advice from the slush pile. The coloring books are going well…they have been selling well, and I have ideas for a few more, but I’m really into designing more cards you can color. I should have pictures up at Carrot Condo at the end of April. Are you doing A-to-Z this year?

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