My husband and I went road tripping last weekend, we knew where we wanted to end up but not exactly how we planned to get there. Everything for the last month had been so rushed and precisely planned that we decided to defy our default mode and just take a slow jaunt.
We pulled out a map, a book of trails and settled back to see the sights. I was amazed at what I had forgotten a map offered: byways, points of interest, parks and historical markers. Who knew?
This is NOT to suggest we throw our GPS away (as a directionaly-challenged person I would never be seen again!) When time is of the essence it pays to take a direct, fail-safe route with no second guessing. And many times I approach a painting the same way: I know exactly where it should go, I map out the way to get there, I practice the color combos and I paint with full attention AND intention.
But other times I get in the driver's seat, or in front of the easel, and I really want to take my time, smell the roses, try a new path and look for the sights along the way. This is when happy accidents (as they are called) take place, it is when you discover a new technique or a different way of doing things. If I had to approach every canvas in exactly the same way, I think I would pack my crayons and find a new outlet. We need to have enough faith to allow ourselves to get lost and enough bravery to think we can find a way out. (Ever watch someone in a class or workshop absolutely refuse to try the teachers approach? They are in a rut in their comfort zone, gps on a loop.)