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‘Please kindly go away, I’m introverting.’ Beth Buelow.

grasshopperThe tutor in my online art class this week was ‘artist / writer / naturalist’ Cathy Johnson.  Before I had even read anything about her, or seen any of her work, my first thought was ‘Oh Oh.  Naturalist.  Does this mean I have to take my sketchbook out-of-doors again this week . . . because I am still not really comfortable with that.  At all . . . ‘

bighatSo I was pleasantly surprised to see that the first part of Cathy’s video class was all about how she, a self-confessed-dyed-in-the-wool introvert, handles going out and about in the big wide world to do her sketching and painting.  (She wears big hats and sunglasses, uses earbuds so people will think she is listening to music or a podcast, and positions herself in corners or with her back to a wall so that ‘no-one can sneak up behind me’ . . . )

At first I shook my head at her suggestions as it all seemed a bit silly but then, quite unexpectedly, I caught myself seriously considering whether that old hat I bought at the markets years ago would be big enough for me to hide under . . . and, you know . . . I’ve got some big sunglasses . . . if I wore that hat and those sunnies . . . and kept away from the main walking paths . . . then maybe I could go out and about with the sketchbook and no-one would bother me or even know who I was and . . .

OMGOh.My.God!  Hi.  My name is Sally, and I think I am an INTROVERT!

Gasp.  No, I must be mistaken.  I have never, ever thought of myself as an introvert.  I like my personal space, that’s all.  And, sure I’m not really a party person, or into the pubs and clubs scene . . . and I don’t like to be in the cinema when it gets too crowded  . . . or sketching where anyone can see me.  And some weekends I wouldn’t bother to go out at all if the dogs didn’t need walking.  Okay.  I can see where this is going.  Perhaps this does merit further investigation.

The dictionary defines an introvert as ‘a shy, reticent person’.  Pfffttt.   Well, I am not in any way shape or form ‘a shy, reticent person’ so there has to be more to it than that. Time to do some extensive research on the subject (i.e. ‘google’ it).

introverts-unite-mens-premium-t-shirtThe terms ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ were originally used by psychologist Carl Jung in the 1920s to explain the different attitudes people use to direct their energy.  Extroverts were generally determined as being outgoing, having a wide range of friends and being comfortable working and playing in large groups. Introverts were seen more often as reflective, preferring to know a few people well, comfortable being alone and liking to do activities they can do on their own.

Well, I guess when you put it like that . . .

But I am not just going to take Jung’s word for it.  There are loads of on-line personality tests out there. Let’s shake it up a bit and see what they think.

The Quiet Revolution indicated I was definitely an introvert. Okay.  Let’s try that again.  Lifehack. Different questions, same result.  Introvert.   Mmmmm.  One last time. The Psychologies test stated I was a ‘public extrovert but a private introvert’.  (I do believe that is what is what is called ‘hedging your bets’.) 

So there you go.  Introvert.  (Not even an ambivert, which, considering I had never even heard that term before today, is no great loss anyway.)

Fire-Escape-Plan-Fire-Chiefs-of-OntarioBut seriously—although I have never associated myself with the word ‘introvert’, I can’t say I am all that surprised at the personality test outcomes.  I have always needed to spend a lot of time on my own.  My social energy definitely has an expiry date and I often spend an inordinate amount of time deciding whether I want to go out somewhere or not.  And then, more than likely, I won’t go.  (And if I do go, I usually have an ‘escape plan’ already in place . . .)

And it seems I am in good company.  Depending on where you get your information (i.e. which google search you believe) about 25% of the world’s population are introverts . . . or maybe it’s closer to 50% . . . or (my favourite)  ‘a minority in the regular population but a majority in the gifted population.’ (Gallagher, 1990; Hoehn & Birely. 1988.)

So now that I know, and (grudgingly) accept, that I am (probably) an introvert (at least that sounds better than ‘socially retarded’) what difference does it make?  None at all really.  I’m pretty happy being who I am and doing things the way I do them and I have no plans to make any drastic changes.

grouchoExcept maybe I will take some of Cathy Johnson’s advice.   A rummage around the house for a quick ‘disguise’ and I might just go and find myself a quiet corner out in the world (preferably with a brick wall behind me) and try a little outdoor sketching.

It could be the start of an all new (quiet) adventure . . .

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.’ Paul Klee.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

sunshineWe’ve just had the most stunning winter weekend.  The sun shone, the skies were a cloudless blue and the temperature went up to about 23 degrees (73F) both days.  I had all the doors and windows open hoping to lure some of the warmer air into the house.  (It’s freezing in the house—long sleeves and woolly socks inside, short sleeves and no socks outside.  Crazy.) The girls and I went for a long walks in the sunshine both morning and evening and it really felt like Spring was on the way.

(It isn’t of course—not quite yet.  The weather bureau tells us that we are expecting rain later today and the temperature is also set to drop 10 degrees, so this was just a short burst of winter warmth trying to lull us into a false sense of security. )

CafeThe weather was so nice I decided to take myself out of doors to do some sketching. This is not something I am entirely (or even at all) comfortable with.  I think I have said before that although I don’t mind walking in it (the outdoors I mean)—in fact I quite like it—my ideal outdoor experience is preferably an alfresco coffee shop, under an umbrella, in the shade, with a ‘Plan B’ to go inside if it gets too hot . . . or too cold . . . or there are too many flies . . .

watching-youI am also not at all comfortable with people watching me draw—even if they are not really watching me at all (which in truth they rarely are—it just feels like they are).  When I see fabulous drawings from artists who have sketched inside coffee shops or concert halls or at public events I always think how great it would be to do the same, but I just haven’t been able to work myself up to it.  (Yet.)  I need to get over myself.

So I decided I would start small, and packed up my sketchbook and a couple of pens and pencils and went in search of something to sketch.  I found myself a quiet corner of the local park where no one could see me (which was a feat in itself as there were people everywhere) and did a couple of quick sketches of some of the plant life I found lying around. I know I could just as easily have taken these bits and pieces home with me to draw, but I didn’t (one small step for man, or at least Sally . . . ) so it was definitely a ‘step’ in the right direction and I eventually came home quite puffed up and pleased with myself at my little outing.

And then I walked in the front door to be confronted my three cranky little dogs who did not care one whit that I had just had a bit of a sketching breakthrough but were very keen to let me know that going to the park without them was really not something they were willing to tolerate on a regular basis.  Sigh.

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Posted by on August 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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