Practice. Practice. Practice.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Hi there.

Thanks for popping in. Today I want to talk about Practice. I can only speak for myself, but as we move through month 3 of our daily doodling and colouring sessions in the SHAC-Shack, my drawing is improving, as is my colouring. It really is. You may not notice, because you only ever see my finished effort. So let me expound: I’m arriving at the same place, but much faster and with greater ease!

I think it has to do with daily practice practice practice. If you repeat something frequently, be it doodling, drawing or driving, you generally improve your game. But I also think it has to do with confidence. When you give yourself loads of opportunities to do something, you greatly increase the chances of getting it right, or getting it better, or just plain getting it.

And I think that’s why many of us are seeing and FEELING the benefits of our Daily Doodles and colouring. Do you agree? Can you feel your confidence growing? Can you feel you abilities growing too? I think the two are inextricably linked. When the teacher told us we couldn’t draw, we believed her/him. We put our pens away and accepted that we couldn‘t draw. What the teacher should have mentioned was that we can learn most things if we practice practice practice. Some things may come more easily than others, and others may learn more easily than us, but there is very little we cannot achieve when we invest time, patience and practice practice practice. I believe that.

I don’t play the guitar or sing. Primarily because somebody once told me I wasn’t musical and I couldn’t sing. I believed them. I have always accepted that person’s opinion. Don’t even remember who it was. But as a result of that person’s judgement on my musical ability, I have simply always believed I am not musical and can’t sing. In the end, somebody’s opinion becomes my mindset, my destiny.

But I bet, I BET, if I put my mind to it, and practiced practiced practiced, I could figure out how to squeeze a tune out of a guitar ! (God knows there are enough of them in our house!). Whether I could sing at the same time might present more of a challenge – but I KNOW it’s doable !

Look how many people can sing and play the guitar at the same time ! Dave for example. Plays and sings beautifully, but never in public, because some other arse told him he couldn’t play or sing either! People, eh? When will they learn to keep their mouths shut and stop judging? And when will we learn not to listen?

One of our lovely customers kindly wrote a lovely little ditty….

A Doodle a Day
With Barbara Gray
Takes all your Troubles
And Cares Away!

Thank you !!

This week we are taking inspiration from Dee’s fabulous artwork…Dee Paramour. Now there’s a talented designer and artist. Years and years of almost daily practice too. When you consider the decades that woman has invested in her craft, it’s no small wonder she is so brilliant! Modest, too.

I’m enjoying taking her lead, and following her creative path with you. I’ve got not one but TWO postcards on the go though! One to test and one for best!

You see? I bounce back and forth, between the two versions. I know it appears a bit extravagant to ostensibly waste a postcard on the test, but I don’t see it as wasted at all. I see it as experimenting and working things out. Mostly, I end up with a decent version – and an improved one.

So if you want to do that too, then just get another set of postcards! Simples. They’re still 3 for 2. And we’ve still got plenty in the cupboard!

We opened a little SHAC-Shack Shop on the Clarity website, where the basic ingredients are easy to locate. CLICK HERE

In fact, if you go to the front page of, it’s all there for you: where to sign up for the newsletter, the New SHAC Shack Shop, special offers, latest products AND our New Design Clubs! Front Page in a nutshell!


Anyway. Time to stop and stare at something. Time to get lost in a detail, in a leaf, or the veins of a leaf. Time to calm the mind.

Love always

Barb xxx

31 thoughts on “Practice. Practice. Practice.

  1. I join in every day. It is my morning routine, gets me moving early to get some jobs done before settling down to my time.
    I will never be a great artist but enjoying the sessions and pleased with my achievements. Especially when Fred pops his head around the door and says ‘that’s good ‘. A little praise goes far.
    As for the colouring I do feel more confident. No more just grabbing a crayon and colouring in the lines. So thank-you for helping me to improve. At least at the end of lockdown I will have achieved something. X X

  2. Hi Barbara
    Thanks for posting the picture. I have just finished my first humming bird and it looks pretty good, though I say it myself.
    As a former teacher, I can heartily endorse “practice, practice, practice”; it works for all subjects, even Maths! Guess what I taught!!
    I am now off to finish my flowers and listen to the football – yippee!
    Have a good evening.

  3. Evening Barbara. You are absolutely right about practice. The more you do something the easier it becomes and the better you get. Parchment art is definitely one of those things that gets easier with practice and being able to do it gives you the drive and desire to do more. I think this is the same for any activity. But once you stop it it can be that you lose some of hothead skills you had. So it’s about doing things every day or as often as is possible.
    As a youngster I loved to sit with my grandad as he played the piano. He played most days but never learnt how to read music. He played by listening and copying the sounds he heard. I wanted to learn to play so my parents found a piano teacher and I went once a week to her. I had to practise hard as she set me a practice diary. I was quite good really and got up to level 7 on the exams so yes I had to practice hard. But if I had a piano put in front of me now I doubt I could manage to play much. Chopsticks maybe but nothing more. But I’m out of practice and that’s what it’s all about. It’s committing the time to pursue an activity.
    Have a lovely evening.
    Love and hugs xxxxx

  4. I can’t see the lines but am learning to colour inside a stencil. Not sure the wing is in the right place or the colours are realistic but it’s still relaxing. Now, if we could just have some small bird and flower outlines, please, so they don’t take so long, that would be wonderful. The lines on my doodles meet more often so they have improved. Persistence does pay but the resulting peace is more important.

  5. A friend of mine is an exceptional artist (and I mean exceptional). I know I will never be as good as her, but she said “it’s only practice. I do it every single day. If you did as much as me, you would be able to do this….” . Maybe one day I will be half as good as her….that would be enough for me. The SHAC shack is getting me there. Thank you.

  6. I believe that practice makes permanent!!
    Fortunately, I have never, EVER listened if someone said I couldn’t (probably why I take no notice of Facebook!). In fact being told I couldn’t made me try harder to do whatever it was.
    So there….
    Maggie (Bendy Yorkite)

  7. Tomorrow I’m going to try some no line watercolour painting using stamps. I love the effect but haven’t had much success doing it – must need more practice heh? And I have my learning journal where I keep the practice pieces and make notes of what not to do next time! X

  8. Barbara, I so enjoy watching you every day. Particularly love all the information and history that you give us as well. Loved all the wonderful things about hummingbirds today. I have them in my yard sometimes and so enjoy watching them. Will watch them now more closely with all that you have shared about them. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my postcards so I can follow along. When they first came out, I thought that I would never be able to colour them as there wasn’t enough detail in them. However, now that you have broken it down in bite size pieces, it now seems that I can do it. The downtime and mindfulness that you give us all is simply wonderful. I know it is a lot of extra work for you but hope that it can continue for a very long time. It has helped me so much over the past few months to deal with things going on in my life. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Hugs from Canada 🇨🇦

  9. Really enjoying the colouring tutorial. I have seen a humming bird nest and they a minuscule but very neat. Off to colour now that my lovely optician has taken out my in growing lashes

  10. Have joined in the shac shack every day from the start.
    Don’t know if I have improved with all the practice but I do know I enjoy trying to do my best and am not getting uptight so much if I am lagging behind a bit. I k now I will end up with a complete project eventually.

  11. I had noticed I was doing better with this colouring than previous. I had thought it was something to do with layout but maybe I’m just ‘getting it quicker’.

    I’m a person who enjoys the process, especially with parchment. I sometimes almost delaying finishing a piece because I don’t want the ‘doing’ to end.

  12. Practise certainly does make perfect. Of all the art mediums I have used I always come back to pencils. They are a very forgiving medium and I love them.
    I will be ordering more cards as many of my existing stock has been completed.
    Years ago, when I was babysitting my god children, I used to sit them down with colouring books or drawing. After a while they would go on to play with other toys but I would carry on colouring. They thought it was hilarious, but one of them eventually became an architect as he once admitted to me that the soppy drawings I did for them spurred him to out do me. I call that a result.
    Love watching what other people do with their art and learn so much – we are never too old to learn something new.
    Stay safe 🍒🍒🍒

  13. I have been colouring for biggest part of the day on and off. Can’t ever remember sitting at it this long before. Insurely must have the colouring bug. Thank you Barb for all this. We did go for a walk this afternoon though, my gosh have you had all this rain and thunder and lightning. Still it will do the gardens a world of good. Just hope it doesn’t come back in the night. xxx

  14. Dear Barbara
    I have definitely noticed a difference with my colouring and drawing. I could always draw a bit but I didn’t feel I was that good. I never got to grips with colouring with pencils. The daily practice has made such a difference to me. Thank you so much for giving us your time. Hugs Jackie T

  15. Love the colouring and I’m enjoying it immensely, thank you so much and yes practising does increase my confidence. I’m actually able to blend colours now no harsh lines well only a few. Xxx

  16. I colour din a picture one day in Church when someone else was preaching and I was sitting with the kids. I did what they were doing and a very successful artist, (previously an art teacher) who was taking the service told me when he was looking at our efforts that the colours should have been stronger! I was quite pleased with my effort considering I had about forty minutes! Hey ho! I love what I am doing and if I didn’t procrastinate for so long, I would achieve far more! I bought water colour paints and haven’t even taken them out of the box but I will and the confidence to try things has come thanks to you giving of your time and to my willingness to give it a go. Hope you have had a better day. Lots of love. Hxx

  17. Loving the colouring process, the light layers make such a difference to the blending of the colours that I have surprised myself how much I have improved over the weeks. It is as you say ”the practice, practice, practice” & making the time to do it slowly rather than rushing which we have had more of through lockdown. Its already Wednesday of Week 12 – 58 hours of SHAC Shack doodles & colouring with trips round the world as well. I have all my work in a folder along with the Groovi SHAC projects – what a great memento it will be even though I might have to find a bigger folder unless I find frames for the postcards & pictures from our trips.
    See you tomorrow at 10 to do another humming bird.

  18. As ever your words are so true. I love your sessions and reading your blog, at last someone talking sense. Keep up the good work it’s truly appreciated xx

  19. Your thoughts have definitely struck a chord with me today, Barb.
    My lovely mum told me I couldn’t sing despite being given lead roles in musical shows at school. I had no confidence to sing at all until I treated myself to singing lessons when I was 50 and even started to sing opera! I have sung in many places since and led worship in church for years – yes singing and playing the guitar at the same time! I should never have believed her but I did, for decades, and missed out on so much pleasure.

    I can’t remember when I last tried to draw or colour anything. No skill and no time anyway. However, I have been at the shac shack each day from the beginning and am not only loving it but definitely improving, albeit slowly. I could only draw a square house with a chimney, smoke and a sun before!

    At the beginning of lockdown I got out of breath trying to run just for a minute. This morning I once again ran for 30 mins before going to the shac, having completed the couch to 5k programme over 9 weeks.
    Also since lockdown I’ve started learning conversational French and practising the piano after many years without playing. Am I getting better? Of course I am – because I practice.
    As ever, you are completely right Barbara. Practice means we are bound to improve. I may never draw or colour to your’s or Dee’s standards but I’m loving each day and you (and other shackers) show me what I can aspire to.
    Moral: Don’t listen to nay-sayers and believe in yourself!

  20. My friend (who is 90 next Tuesday!) and I have been doing the lessons since day one – after our evening meal -and we’ve both come on so much and feel so much more confident with our pencils and colouring techniques. Neither of us has had any drawing experience before and it is such a delight when our drawings come to life. (the carrot people are our favourites!!) Also looking forward to trying watercolour pencils one day as we both have sets, but rarely use them mainly due to lack of confidence. Thanks again Barbara for your time, and care of us.

  21. Hello Barb, a lovely blog post today, everyone can sing, however badly when it is their favourite song. Love the colouring, Dee’s is absolutely stunning, and I love your idea of having 2. can’t wait to see your finished ones. Take care and stay safe everyone. Bx

  22. Absolutely. I tried colouring when it first came back into fashion. Bought some cheap pencils, and I do mean cheap, and then up popped you on Hochanda and I bought the book, the cards and the bookmarks. I couldn’t get anywhere near what you were doing and put it all away. It came out another time and I bought some Water Colour Pencils but wasn’t confident enough to spoil my lovely Clarity stuff so away it went again. Then up pops this pandemic and you and the Shac Shack. To start with I persevered with the jolly old water colour pencils but knew very quickly that I needed to invest in something better suited to what we were doing. Having coughed up I had to wait weeks for my tin of pencils to float over the channel but all the time I kept trying with the old pencils. This week is my first week using the FCP’s and I am sure that if I hadn’t been trying to get results whilst I was waiting I would have been very tentative. When I was little we were told a poor workman blames his tools and I don’t know who told us this because Dad was an excellent DIYer and always bought good tools. It is only in the last few years I have been able to shake off this attitude and search out good equipment. I am so enjoying this week and have taken your suggestion and ordered more cards so that I can play with them and the bookmarks before started on the big book. Thank you so much for sharing your time and enthusiasm with us, Barbara, and thank you to everyone who comes along. I can look at each and every FB post of whatever we are doing with great pleasure.

  23. Hi Barbara. I have been a musician and music teacher my whole life!!! and I can confidently tell you that everyone can sing if the music is pitched appropriately. Get Dave to teach you these three chords on the guitar – G major, D major and C major. You can harmonise thousands of tunes with combinations of just these three chords. When you’ve mastered them, practice singing over the top. I’m sure Dave can help you work out which chords go where. If the pitches in the tune are too high or low for you to sing comfortably get Dave to detune the guitar. He’ll know what to do. Good luck!! And yes, I thought I couldn’t draw and now, thanks to you and lots of practice, I can!! Thanks so much. Stay safe and take care. Diane. Xxxxx

  24. I am a singer and like anything practise is the key to improvement. The vocal chords tighten and loosen as you sing higher and lower notes, and once they get used more movement and get more flexible, more accurate tuning can be achieved, so the same with our crafting and colouring. You are an excellent teacher Barbara and looking at the wonderful doodling and colouring that has been happening, everyone who has been doing this regularly should be very proud of their efforts. x

    1. Sorry, practice should have a ‘c’ and it should be ‘once they get used to more movement’. I think my tablet has a mind of its own…lol. x

  25. Arrgh! It really bothers me when someone gets told they can’t sing. I’ve heard you hum some tunes while you color, Barbara, and you CAN carry a tune. Sing along with the radio, sing in the shower, sing while you do your daily chores. And enjoy yourself! Pooey on the nay sayers! (I’m enjoying the daily videos from here in the Tucson, Arizona, desert.)

  26. Pity I don t live nearer because I believe that every one can sin g with a little help’. I could pop round and we could practice in. the garden at the statuary 2 mtrs distance. Hey ho not to be so doodling it is. See you tomorrow

  27. So loving these sessions, both the colouring and the doodling.
    Never would have believed I could draw.
    Thank you so much Barbara.
    You’re an inspiration to us all.

  28. Practice and belief thats what has got me to achieve something worthwhile doing. I have a saying when I am playing competition golf to those that say ‘You always win!’ it’s not fair. Well, it is fair because I put in the practice and do they practice? NO not at all! . So my answer is ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ – I am overwhelmed at how far I have come with my Shac Shack doodles and colouring but then I do look, listen and learn and then practice! – The reward is so lovely with self belief growing daily! Thank you for our valuable journey Barbara X

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