Oil Painting and Coaching Weightlifting.

November 29, 2017

I have recently started dabbling in oil painting because I needed yet another hobby. Like most things that I get into, I more or less just acquired the necessary tools and started learning by doing. I’ve been doing art off and on since I was a kid, sometimes identifying as an artist but most of the times not. I stick to what I like which are high contrast pieces focusing on the human form. Based on my profession, education and other athletic pursuits I’m into, I obviously find the human body fascinating. Most other things (landscapes, abstract pieces and what not) don’t do a whole lot for me. Mostly, I do art because it brings me a sense of catharsis. It takes me to a sacred space for 45 minutes or so where I don’t worry about anything else except for the task at hand, the very same reason why I like crushing heavy weights.

It’s been a number of years since art has been my “thing.” In college, I’d make it a point to take one art class a semester as a way to force me to make time for art and take a step back from my busy schedule. Since then, I’ll sort of lazily doodle, sometimes diving in with ink or water color when it fits my mood. I like ink because it requires confidence. There’s no way to take it off the paper, so you have to be both aggressive and decisive about where you place your lines. Sometimes it works out for me, but most of the time not so much. Any project that takes more than 45 minutes will remain unfinished with a few exceptions over the years.

The only experience I’ve had with oil so far is when I had a girlfriend a number of years ago who would use that as her primary medium. We’d sometimes do art together and I’d bang out like 5 or 6 ink drawings trying to capture the figures and motion. She on the other hand, would spend weeks on these beautiful paintings, taking her time, being methodical, taking breaks and coming back to add layer over layer of beautiful depth. The finished work paid off wonderfully, but frankly the whole process seemed hella boring.

So here I am in 2017 ignorantly slapping paint on stuff like I know what I’m doing (not much unlike how I first started lifting weights) and finding myself forced into the same drawn out, boring process that she did. There are rules. You can’t just DO shit. You have to be methodical, play the game. But here’s the thing:

I love it.

Being forced to be methodical, keep a frame of reference in mind from start to finish over the period of weeks changed my entire creative process. She might’ve said the same to me but who knows. I’m a poor listener at times.

This mentalty for me is analegous to how my weightlifting process changed when I began coaching. As a coach, there is ONLY the big picture. The frame of reference that you have in your brain for every athlete is always present, even when assisting their day to day workouts. There is joy in seeing small changes over time. There is planning and constantly reminding your athletes that weightlifting is not today. Olympic Weightlifting is today, every day over the course of his or her career.

I change hats on a day to day basis. I wouldn’t recommend it. If you want to be an athlete be an athlete. Be fiery and expect progress every single day. That’s not reality but it’s not your job to keep that in mind. Leave it up to your coach to reign you in when needed and bounce ideas off of. Keep an open dialogue when you need it. The idea is that when it’s all over, you will be happy with the finished product.

Enjoy yourself.

-The Wizard of Occam

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