Poem: The Practice Sheet

The Practice Sheet

It sits to the side of the “real” painting,
a piece of paper or canvas, a scrap
covered with random splashes of color
and brush strokes, experiments,
examples of your insecurity as an artist,
a need to “see” what you cannot see,
what your imagination can not conjour
with enough confidence the first time.

So there it sits to the side, this practice sheet
where you paint without consideration or concern,
where there is nothing to ruin, a place of freedom,
where too often (don’t think I don’t notice)
the result is far more magical
than the work.

About this poem

I grew up in a household where feelings were not encouraged. They were things to be kept to one’s self. That part of my upbringing had to be undone. I am still unraveling it, a zillion years later. Still learning how to feel freely.

Or, the poem is about painting and practice sheets. The very first painting I sold was not a painting at all, but the practice sheet set to the side. I’ve never forgotten that.

Poetry is never about one thing. Often it is not even about what I think it is about. Once you read it, it’s yours.

Tom

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