Monday, 24 November 2014

Sludge and Joe Bastianich

Sometimes my brain is sparking.  Ideas are coming fast.  Bam! Bam! Bam!  Everything is working like a dream. Paintings are flowing off my paint brush.  My pen is inking out like crazy.  The connection between head, hands and heart is working at 110% capacity.  Nothing seems impossible. I am an artist! I rock!

Other days the brain is a pile of sludge - a thick, dull, heavy grey mass of lifeless void.  No matter what comes out of it, flatness reigns. Of course, this is also the time when I burn the green beans, the dog wants to go outside 50 million times in one hour, and I accidently delete NCIS New Orleans from the PVR then find out Husband was not finished watching it.  *sigh*

So I've been having quite a few of those days lately, the sludgy ones.  I don't know if anything will come of the work I've tried last week.  It's sitting in a corner of the back bedroom, away from the seeing eye.  I still know it's there.  It taunts me with its clashing colors and pedestrian design.  I ventured out into the unknown and the unknown did not give back to me kindly this time.  I'd had such a good run of happy art lately that last week was a particularily hard blow to my fledgling confidence.

Then the universe spoke in the voice of Joe Bastianich.  Yes, one of the judges from Masterchef spoke directly to me.  This week.  From the television.

Masterchef is a cooking competition where home cooks go through intense pressure-filled elimination rounds creating gourmet restaurant quality dishes in order to please the highly critical evaluations of three extremely talented, experienced and wildly successful judges in the quest to be crowned the best home cook in the entire world.   The judges? Crème de la crème of the cooking world - Gordon Ramsey, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot.

This week I watched an episode of Masterchef Junior, the competition for nine to thirteen year olds. Yes, young children competing in a gourmet cooking show.  I can't even pronouce much less cook some of the dishes they are making and they don't have recipes in front of them!

This is a hard competition for adults, so it is harder still to watch these kids deal with the results of mistakes, sudden problems and sub-par dishes.  Every episode has a winner and a loser and every loser has to leave the show. There is disappointment and tears.

One little nine year old girl Oona, who had been doing impressively well over the first two episodes, had a bad week.  She put out the worst dishes since she started and she knew it.  I felt so bad for her. Then Joe handed her a napkin (this is where the universe spoke to me) and told her to wipe up her tears. He wondered if she thought she was going to do everything perfect all of the time 'cause no one was perfect.  She was going to make mistakes and mess up many times. Failures, especially the big ones, are often the catalysts that brings you to the next level.  They move you to improve you.

Oona was disappointed, but no longer devastated.  She was ready to accept her fate if she needed to leave the show, but I could tell she would leave with her head held high and undaunted in her cooking capabilities.

Good advice for me too.  When I run into mistakes, sudden problems and sub-par work, I will grab a napkin and wipe my tears.  I am not perfect and neither will my work be perfect all the time.  I will own the obstacles and embrace my mistakes.  I will allow my failures to move me to improve me.  I will go to the back bedroom, look at my mediocre work, and figure out a way to go forward from there, head held high and undaunted in my artistic capabilities.

Thank you Universe and Joe for the advice, just when I needed it.  I will turn my sludge into something beautiful.

By the way, Oona survived the elimination round to cook another day


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