I need to share with you a little secret known only to those who study drawing as adults: drawing lessons drag negative feelings out of your unaware-ness into the sunlight of your consciousness. This is very disconcerting and discouraging for those who walk into drawing lessons unaware that they are walking into therapy. Who would have thought it?
Why does the act of learning to draw bring out hidden depths, and mostly negative ones, at that? I have some theories, but no way to prove or disprove them.
I think that the biggest factor in this dredging-up is that drawing is an area that makes most adults in this particular place and time feel inadequate. After all, it involves intense observation of things we‘ve never been taught to see. (This sort of quiet scrutiny of the environment is not generally valued in our school systems, nor in our society.) We are coordinating all this new vision with movement of our hands on a page, also something we are not really used to doing. With our schooling firmly in the past, here we are, putting ourselves in the position of beginners, even children, again. If that doesn’t make someone feel insecure, then the student is uniquely confident (and maybe a little oblivious) to begin with.
Another possible reason for the sudden, overwhelming emotion upon learning to draw is that, when you are “in the zone” and using your right brain exclusively, you are dipping into wells of emotion that normally remain covered. One must go into the zone in order to draw accurately, but one must also learn to bear the side-effects, too.
One drawing teacher I had stated that he had at least one student per class who teared up, or even started crying. Not that the others were unaffected by the activity, but not everyone tears up when feeling sad or angry or defeated.
The only way I know to get past this rush of negative emotion and feeling of insecurity is to recognize its arrival, pause, and keep working. Acknowledging the existence of negative thoughts is not the same as giving in to them. It is possible to keep working, even while you think your efforts are in vain. The payback comes the first time a drawing, or part of a drawing, speaks truth about the world observed. That little triumph can be a stepping-stone to the next success, and the next.
If your goal is to learn to draw and to SEE, then pushing past roadblocks from within is part of the package.