Good Monday morning everyone!
Above a scanned sketch I made, of a bottle of Chanel N°5 that my daughter gave me as a present. I’m a total newbie to drawing and painting so sharing these first attempts is risky. I can already pick out a gazillion mistakes and it makes me cringe, but that’s not the purpose of sharing this.
Yep, among the many things I’m learning I’ve taken up drawing and watercolour painting which segues quite nicely into todays thoughts – the cross-pollination in art and life of many things that may on the surface seem unrelated but which in fact are dear relatives. The dictionary defines “cross-pollination” as: influence or inspiration between or among diverse elements…a sharing or interchange of knowledge, ideas, etc. as for mutual enrichment; cross-fertilization.
Learning about art is a wonderful support and partner to learning perfumery – smell can take one into a heightened state of awareness and drawing allows you to loosen up and let go and see new relationships. I find the warm up exercises, making circles with your whole arm, making lines, cubes, etc. they help me let go of the fear of making a mistake because I’m simply making marks on the page without judgment. The whole point is to loosen up and just do.
It’s easier in art to make mistakes – just erase a line or two or the whole thing or rip up the page and start all over again. Not so with learning perfumery, we tend to hold on to the mistakes because, hey, throwing away 10ml or 20ml of trials is like throwing away €50. And who wants to throw away money?! But throw away money we must if we are to get better. Learning perfumery is about experimentation – lots of it! And the learning shouldn’t be hindered by thoughts of “oh, shit, there goes €100!”.
It’s easier in art to make your mark, just pick up a box of crayons and a napkin and start doodling and call it done. A lot harder I find, to make your mark in perfumery since the challenges are many: the cost is rather high to experiment, the difficulties importing raw materials here in the EU, shipping issues, EU regulations, and simply the length of time it takes to evaluate an experiment. They all add up and many times I find the whole endeavour fraught with paralysing doubt, leading me down a path of OCD, the path of perfection, and of least practice. I had to find a way around these obstacles to learning and found that opening myself up to other avenues of creative expression does take the pressure off of learning a very expensive craft.
It’s easy to forget when working with essential oils that cost a small fortune that the important thing is to create, to do, to get your expression out of you and share it with the world. Whether we sell that expression of creativity is irrelevant to the journey of creating. What is important is to simply make – to engage with curiosity in the journey from imagination to hand to thing.
Sure it’s scary to make art or perfumes — anything that engages Soul authentically is frightening. Making art, making one’s own marks makes the heart beat faster — whether that’s painting, perfumery, sewing or architecture. But, in the words of Georgia O’Keeffe, “I have been absolutely terrified every moment of my life — and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”
So, let’s move boldly into our creations. Go make something today!