Day 6 of 7: “The only way you learn how to flip things is just to flip them."
- Julia Child, and how cooking and drawing help us verb our way into gratitude
Hello my GUT fam, and happy day-after-Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate.
I hope everyone had a joyful time with loved ones, and enjoyed the food and all the prep and cooking that goes into a Thanksgiving feast. Or any meal made with love, really.
As you know, we are doing daily gratitude drawings all week. If you are just joining us now, it would probably be helpful to go back to DAY 1 to see what we’re up to. Of course, no worries AT ALL if you are not doing one a day exactly, or hopping around between assignments. There is no wrong way to do this. Go at your own pace. Start wherever. No rules in art, as we say in DrawTogether GUT. You do you.
Before we dive into today’s gratitude drawing, I wanted to share a couple things I’ve been been thinking about around the intersection of cooking and drawing. Seems appropriate this Thanksgiving food week.
As someone who couldn’t boil an egg until I made Salt Fat Acid Heat with Samin Nosrat1, learn to cook with Samin (lucky me!) put me back in the beginners seat, big time. I didn’t think I’d ever get any of it, let alone be able to communicate her lessons through drawings… let alone be able to cook myself! (Spoiler alert: now I love to cook.) To be a beginner at anything is to experience a combination of awe, wonder, frustration, intimidation, anxiety, excitement and joy. If we have perfectionists tendencies at all, they kick in full force. The key to learning anything really, is to embrace ALL those feelings, let go of the voices in our head and just DO.
Nobody said it better than artist Sol LeWitt in his letter to artist Eva Hess after she wrote him asking for his advice on her big art ideas.
His writing is a little tough to read. Here’s a transcription:
It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rambling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO.
The only way to Do it is to DO it.
But let’s stay on our food-oriented theme!! Here is a great video of the wonderful Julia Child teaching us this lesson with potatoes.
As she says after she botches the flip,
“The only way you learn how to flip things is just to flip them.”
As in drawing. The only way to learn to draw is to draw.
Also, on mistakes:
“Anytime anything like this happens, you haven’t lost anything because you can always turn this into something else.”
As in drawing. With any drawing mistakes we can always turn them into something else.
In under two minutes she teaches us how to be a beginner: to have courage, to make mistakes, to turn them into something else, to not take ourselves so seriously. And just to DO IT.
In cooking, as in drawing, as in life.
Oh, Julia. The best.
So what does this have to do with gratitude?
Gratitude is a feeling, and a feeling is a thing. A noun. But the kind of gratitude we are focusing on this week is as a verb. To become a more grateful person (and let go of our scarcity mindset and grow a more abundant outlook on life) we have to actually PRACTICE gratitude. We have to DO it. And it’s not something we’re born doing. It’s something we have to LEARN. And many of us are beginners, including me.
Cooking, drawing, gratitude(ing!)… all are verbs. The only way to learn them is to do them.
Alright, alright, Let’s get on with the….