Sometimes Being Interested Is Enough

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Often when people post their art in the communities I’m part of they follow it up with ‘but I’m not a real artist’ or ‘but it’s just my hobby’. As if there is some kind of division between ‘real artists’ who can post their art without caveat and ‘not real artists’ who need to qualify it before posting (because otherwise what..?).

This might have something to do with someone’s personal level of confidence or the way society views art, or a combination of both. I definitely identify with this tendency, this wish to let people know you don’t want them to judge you too harshly or to let them know you’re not full of yourself. This desperate wish to take a bit of that huge vulnerability out of creating or sharing something so personal as your own art.

It also might even stop you from creating in the first place. That feeling of not being good enough or not qualified enough. Why should you do it if there are so many other people who might do it better?

A couple of weeks back I went to NineWorlds (it is an inclusive geek convention, it’s amazing!) and I put myself forward to speak on a panel about problematic issues in the work of Joss Whedon. As a self-professed Whedonite (I wrote my undergrad thesis on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) I’m semi qualified to speak on this subject.

Nineworlds Panel

But I worried. What if I didn’t know enough? What if I wasn’t good enough or couldn’t contribute? What if my knowledge was too niche (e.g. just about BtVS instead of all of Whedon’s work)? What if other people knew way more about the subject? What if people from the audience looked at me and thought ‘pfft what is she doing on that panel’?

I discussed these fears with my therapist and he suggested:

What if simply being interested is enough?

This actually touches on something that I read in Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly (I mentioned this book in my previous post) in which she proposes a culture of ‘enough’. That instead of trying to be perfect, we should simply try to be engaged.

When you feel passionate, interested and excited about what you do, it doesn’t matter whether people like it, because the right people will respond to your engagement. When you downplay something, you are giving people a signal that it’s unlikely to be interesting to them, because they will simply mirror your own (lack of) enthusiasm.

This is what I try to do now with my art. I try and move away from the questions of ‘is it good enough?’ or ‘will people like it?’ and instead I try to move towards ‘is this interesting to me?’ and ‘does this make me feel excited?’.

It Looks Like I Know What I’m Doing (or a rant on vulnerability)

Know-What-Im-Doing

I love that when I post my art it looks like I know what I’m doing. Because really people, I haven’t the faintest idea. I just keep on doing it, no real goal apart from to just express myself and follow the joy and sometimes my hands all of a sudden produce things I like. I often don’t even notice while I’m working. My head starts going towards not-good-enough-itis. It’s only at the end when I stand back and take a picture of it that I might realise it looks halfway decent and that it might come across that I actually know what I’m doing and all of this is deliberate.

Well, it really isn’t.

This isn’t some kind of humble brag. I want to share what it feels like as a vulnerable flawed human being who is on a journey of self-development and artistic development and who most of the time is just wandering or ambling or lost. Because I think you might be too, and if you are, I want you to see the real me.

I often think people might get the impression that my art is very deliberate, that I know what I want and how to achieve it. That I’ve got it all figured out or that I’m “so talented”. Talent’s lovely (I am not sure I have it, opinions differ) but it has fuck all to do with actually creating art. (If you’ve called me talented before, please keep doing it, it’s lovely and I don’t take offense, but if you think you need to be talented to make art… well then just stop right there. Stop thinking that I mean, don’t stop making art, START making art).

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I’m currently reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (I absolutely recommend it, go get it right now!) and it made me realise that painting, or any act of creativity really, is such a vulnerable act. I don’t even mean sharing art, that’s also a vulnerable act, but it’s between you and other people. No I mean the act of creating where there was nothing. It’s a vulnerable act between you and yourself, nothing can make you feel as exposed as creating and expressing. And that leap, that start from nothing to something, that is the biggest most enormous leap.

So many people won’t make that leap, because it can make you shit your pants and want to hide in a safe hidey corner where you can pretend that you can avoid feeling vulnerable. And every day people do make that leap. Your favourite painters, your favourite teachers, your favourite writers. And people you don’t know and have never heard of, they make that leap too.

I make that leap, and you can make that leap. It’s the doing that counts. It’s the showing up. It’s being open and vulnerable, because that is the strength you need to draw from to let yourself be creative.

Go forth! Create!

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How To Push Past Resistance?

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How to push past resistance? And what is resistance anyway??

First let me start off by stating that I LOVE the art I’ve been doing recently. It seems like a barrier (probably self-imposed) has been lifted. I used to feel like every piece I did had to be different and original otherwise I was somehow failing (ridic, right?). Now I feel I’m able to follow my favourite steps and techniques and work with limited supplies to create a cohesive body of work over the course of a few weeks/months and hone my skills (and HAVE FUN! So important).

BUT, and this is the big BUT… although I feel I’m developing, I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself to fulfilling my potential. I have this (not so secret) wish to make more technically accomplished and complex art. Not just that, but art with feeling, expression and emotion, art that comes from deep inside.

There are a few artists I really admire (e.g. Renata Loree, Ivy Newport, Robin Laws) whose art possesses a wealth of soul and complexity. Now I know it’s no use to compare my own work to other people’s work, that’s a given. But I am struggling with not knowing whether it’s a style I WANT to pursue myself or simply like looking at because it pleases me aesthetically. You can enjoy good food without actually being a master chef yourself if you get what I’m saying.

So the first question is really: IS this resistance or not? Am I painting simple quick art journal pages because that’s my deepest desire and what I need to be doing right now, or because I am afraid of going deeper, more detailed and spending more time…?

This has been a theme in my life for as long as I can remember. I find it hard to invest time. I rush through things, wish they were finished before even starting and I find it very hard to stay with them. Hence art journaling and small simple paintings fitting in really well with this tendency. But then how do I ever get to the point where I can invest? Invest time and attention to myself, my art, without wishing to rush through it? And if I engage in this exercise (for example working on a painting that takes days or weeks to complete, not hours) how do I get past that feeling of unease, that feeling of not enjoying myself or not knowing what to do or where things will go? (Aha it becomes apparent to me yet again that I like being in control… hilarious right for someone who teaches people to let go of the outcome..? *gigglesnort*)

I want more out of my art, but I want more with grace & ease, not discomfort or unease. Am I asking too much?

I’m not sure if I can know the answers to these questions right now, but I know I feel a certain excitement. The excitement of my own potential. The gift I can give myself of time, of knowing that I’m allowed to wonder, allowed to find out, allowed to try. All my life I’ve lived with a feeling of ‘I must’, so I’m experimenting with the notion of ‘I am allowed’ and go from there.

This is a piece I did a few months ago in which I feel I captured a little bit of what I’m talking about (even though this was still definitely a quick piece)

Portrait in art journal by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

I Can’t Draw

i-cant-draw

If I had a penny for every time I heard someone say “I can’t draw” or “I can’t even draw a stick figure”…. I’d have a fair amount of pennies.

I can’t draw either. Or couldn’t. I don’t know. At some point I couldn’t draw. And now I’m at a different stage of ‘can’t draw’. And in a few years’ time I will be further progressed on my journey of ‘can’t draw’. I don’t suppose I will ever get to a point where I exclaim: By golly! I can draw!

I think it’s like that with any skill that has a lot of levels of proficiency. You’re always learning, but you’re never ‘there’, because as soon as you’re ‘there’, there’s another level to achieve. Deep, no?

So. ‘Not being able to draw’ is no excuse not to draw. By all means, don’t draw if you don’t want to or don’t like to. But don’t lament ‘oooooh I can’t draw…….’ as if other people who do draw are somehow born with some magical talent that makes them able to draw. Or as if you’re only allowed to draw if you’re somehow already good at it before having even practiced.

We all can’t draw. We all can draw. I don’t know. Go draw! Draw me a stick figure and go share it with me on Facebook or Instagram =p

PS here are some pictures of me practicing my drawing skills and a bonus picture of a flamingo I drew over 10 years ago. You’re welcome.

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2005-05-27flamingo

Giving Up?

Ever Feel Like Giving Up On Your Art?

Do you ever get so frustrated with your art that you just want to throw in the towel? Bin it? Give up?

I’m currently teaching in several places (Let’s Face It & Love Art Happy Life) and apart from the wonderful work that is being posted, people also sometimes express their frustration. Their annoyance at not getting it right or not drawing what they see in their mind’s eye. I read about people throwing their art in the bin or ripping it up.

My heart feels heavy when I see people being so hard on themselves!

I really understand that feeling, that annoyance and disgust at what was supporsed to be wonderful, but ended up severely lacking. I’ve never binned my art, but in a way I binned my creativity for years: by simply not creating for fear of creating something disappointing (again).

For me I want art to be something joyful, even if I recognise that it is sometimes a struggle (believe me, I struggle). Getting the balance right is actually a really big part of my wish for self-care and self-respect. Shooting yourself down actually adds another layer of suffering on top of the already existing disappointment of not liking something or something not working out right.

I feel so sad thinking about the fact that so many of you experience this, I want to share my tips for allowing art to be a more joyful experience.

1. Struggle. First of all, let’s just sit with the fact that we sometimes struggle. Life can be a struggle, art can be a struggle. And that is OK. Struggle is not something to be avoided at all cost or a marker of not doing it right. It just happens. Sometimes we struggle with something physical (e.g. art techniques) or emotional (e.g. confidence). If we interact with the struggle and face it it can help us actually get further on our journey. It helps us grow.

2. Letting Go Of The Outcome. I know I harp on a lot about letting go of the outcome *grins* but it’s just so relevant! The art you create simply is. It is not good, it is not bad, it just is. WHY do we want to throw it in the bin, or annihilate ourselves or rip it up? It’s about attaching an importance to it being something ELSE. As long as we’re focussed on wanting it to be anything other than what it is, we’re creating disappointment and suffering for ourselves.

3. Noticing. Being able to think critically and assess our work is a strength and can help us improve, but there is a difference between observing and criticising/annihilation. When you notice instead of judge, you’re simply observing what is. You can then absorb that knowledge in a positive way, rather than a judgy feel-bad-about-yourself-way. It’s the difference between “The eyes are all wrong! It’s ruined!” and noticing “The left eye is smaller than the right eye. I don’t enjoy the look that creates, next time I will try to pay more attention to getting the eyes the same size”.

4. Be Where You Are At. It’s so tough in this online world not to compare ourselves. I don’t know about you but my Facebook feed is filled with wonderful art from amazing artists all over the world. Everyone is doing their own thing and everyone is on their own path. Consuming dozens or hundreds of pictures of what other people are doing can really affect my confidence about what I am doing myself. I start comparing myself and wishing my art was ‘a little more like this’ or ‘a little less like that’. When I compare myself to others I’m treating myself so unfairly, because really I can’t compare myself to anyone other than myself! I’m Iris, I’ve been painting on and off since 2008 and consistently since 2013. I paint a few times a week. I tend to choose expression and play over technical skill and practice. I’ve not been to art school. I’ve followed some online classes. I love trying different materials. Etc etc etc (everyone has their own unique story). The art I’m making is a beautiful reflection of who I am at this point in time, and I am exactly where I need to be.

Say it with me now:

The art I’m making is a beautiful reflection of who I am at this point in time, and I am exactly where I need to be

I really hope that the above will give you some of the tools that have helped me get out of the critical judging way of approaching art and into a more accepting and joyful way of doing art.

If you have any tips I’d love to hear them, please leave a comment below!

Sharing More Emotional Art

raw-journaling

Lately I’ve been doing something that my friend Marieke calls ‘raw art journaling’. So now you’ll probably ask:

What Is Raw Journaling?

To me raw journaling is where you journal with the intention of feeling, processing and expressing your emotions. You avoid trying to decide up front what you’re going to make (i.e. you don’t plan out a composition or particular subject), but instead you let yourself be led by your inner voice and intuition. For me an important aspect of this is letting go of the need to make something pretty or coherent.

Raw journaling #artjournal #intuitiveart #rawjournaling #emotion #mixedmedia #strathmore #irisimpressionsart

Colours

I usually start out by grabbing a few colours (adhering loosely to colour theory and colour relationships – I will be going into this more in my bonus lesson on Let’s Face It) so I don’t get overwhelmed. In my journals I like to use matte acrylics (like Americana or Blick matte acrylics) because they don’t make the pages stick together the way glossy acrylics might. Then while I’m working I’ll let my intuition guide me in terms of picking further colours.

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Text

I find that when I try this type of art journaling things tend to look a lot more unfinished. I also use a lot more words in haphazard ways across the pages. With a ‘normal’ art journal page I have a tendency to create a face and then in the empty space a word or phrase. With raw journaling it’s much more ‘all over the place’. I pay less attention to composition and more attention to what I want to express. Almost everything that goes through my head will come out in text, either in layers or illegible scribbles or as visible text on the final layer.

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Sharing

The most surprising and unsurprising thing has been that I’ve found this type of art harder to share. I usually share everything (pretty, ugly, it doesn’t really matter to me who sees it), but I think that in a lot of my work the emotions are more hidden (e.g. the process has been cathartic but the page itself doesn’t really express specific emotions on the surface). In this work the emotion is totally on the surface. It’s very raw, very real and it makes me feel really vulnerable to share it.

So maybe it’s not such a surprise that I’ve found it hard, but I will keep sharing, because I absolutely love this type of art. Both to look at and to make. It’s not necessarily ‘pretty’, but to me it expresses something deep and it touches me in a way that a lot of other art doesn’t. It makes me feel exhilarated, a bit scared and it makes my heart beat faster.

If you’d like to check out some other people who do raw journaling, these are artists whose work I enjoy:
Marieke Blokland
Anne-Marie van Eck
Erin Faith Allen
Roxanne Coble

Encountering Resistance – the time I took an abstract art course

When I decided I was going to take an abstract art course to keep pushing my artistic development, I fully expected I would love it and it would do great things for me. So what happened really surprised me and left me kind of baffled.

I specifically chose to do an in-person course. I’d tried a lot of online courses and found I lacked the motivation needed to keep going after the first week and to do the ‘homework’. By taking an in-person course that didn’t have any homework I thought I’d find it easier and that the social aspect would be motivating.

I've signed up for an abstract painting course. Had my first lesson tonight and it was lots of fun! Made 4 mini collages (these are business card size) paying attention to tone, value contrast and composition. Next week I will paint one of these large scale. I won't tell you yet which one I've chosen, but you tell me, which is the one you think I should paint? #abstract #paintingcourse #irisimpressionsart

I tried to be open to the fact that I might have to do some things I didn’t really like doing. For example in week 1 we started with collage. I don’t love collage, but I did my best and ended up enjoying myself. In week 2 we started with acrylic paint and I felt a lot more in my element.

As the weeks went on, I kept going to my lesson with an open mind, but when I was there I’d feel majorly resistant. I didn’t enjoy myself and didn’t want to do the assignments. The feeling was very interesting to me, because in my own painting I usually try to find a flow and I don’t plan what I create in advance, so resistance doesn’t come into the process. What was it about taking a course that made me so resistant?

If you played along last week guessing which collage I was going to paint, here is the answer all worked out in A2 size! No filter as the whole point of this painting was colour mixing and matching. #abstract #paintingcourse #artclass #londonartist #irisimpressionsart

I thought about it and came up with some really helpful discoveries!

Letting Go Of The Outcome

I’ve fought (and still fight my inner demons/critics) for the right to create art focussing solely on how it makes me feel. I focus on joy through the process, embracing imperfection and letting go of the outcome. Understandably, the structure of taking a formal class is about learning key concepts. There were a couple of weeks that focussed more on intuitive processes, but most of the lessons were about achieving specific outcomes. I never realised how much I’d managed to internalize the mindset of letting go of the outcome (if you ask me I’m still quite bad at it), but when I’m asked to achieve a certain outcome or to set up a painting in my head and then just create it on the outside on the canvas… it makes me very unhappy.

In progress abstract work. To be honest it was a bit of a labour so far. Loving the lime green but the whole process didn't feel enjoyable (or perhaps I was just grumpy lol, it's very possible). Curious to see where this will go next week. #abstract #londonartist #artclass #paintingcourse #citylit #irisimpressionsart

Funnily enough, I really love some of the pieces I’ve created aesthetically, but I remember that I didn’t enjoy creating them, so overall I don’t have a good feeling about them. It was amazing to discover how important it is for me to feel good while I’m painting. Painting something aesthetically pleasing isn’t good enough in itself. I’d rather feel good while painting and paint something ugly (although that hardly happens when I feel good about the process) than to feel badly and paint something pretty.

Mixed Media

We did some collage. We did acrylic painting. We did oil painting. We did charcoal drawings. I felt stifled. It didn’t occur to me until several weeks in: I’m a mixed media artist! If I limit myself to one medium I feel restricted, caged. So I started mixing it up, acrylic paint, conte crayons, oil pastels. That felt much better!

Abstract painting course tonight. I realised I absolutely hate working with brushes lol. This was my third painting of the night and done with brayer, fingers, bubble wrap and bottle caps. #abstract #intuitiveart #artcourse #citylit #londonartist #irisimpressionsart

Sensory Painting

Similarly to needing mixed media, I also realized how unhappy the stiff bristly brushes made me. I didn’t have the control I wanted. Only towards the end of the course where I basically said I was no longer going to use brushes did I start to experience joy again. Out with the brushes! Finger painting, bubble wrap, drips, splats and brayers, that’s where it’s at for me!

Missing The Faces

Before taking the course I’d sometimes try abstract at home. I’d see people on YouTube/Pinterest making awesome abstract art journal pages and I felt like I wanted to do that to. Then I discovered that for me the faces are where it’s at. It’s where I find my joy. I haven’t fully explored why yet, but when I try to hold myself back from the faces I start feeling that horrible resistance in the pit of my stomach. Drawing and painting faces is like breathing a huge sigh of relief!

Final abstract painting class tonight. Sooooo happy with this piece. Last week when I started it I loved it, when I finished last week I hated it, then today I was able to finish it and just feel it again! #abstract #paintingcourse #artcourse #intuitiveart #mixedmedia #irisimpressionsart #citylit

A Learning Experience

Initially I felt like what this course taught me was about all the things I didn’t like (and I felt badly for not liking the experience!). And then I realized that at the same time it was teaching me about all the things I already knew I liked, but never really thought about before. A hugely valuable experience!

Apart from that what I did find hugely helpful was the portion on colour theory and colour mixing we did. It has absolutely increased my confidence in handling colour and adding to that ‘intuitive’ knowledge of feeling what is right for a painting.

In the end I’m so glad I let myself have this experience, even if it wasn’t what I expected. I love looking at abstract art and I know that what I have learned on the course has already influenced my art. I might not become an abstract artist though!

The class I took is called Ways Into Abstract Painting and it runs at City Lit in London.

In this post you see pictures of the pieces I created on the course. Some are finished some are not. I’d love to know which one speaks to you most and why! Let me know in the comments below.

Embracing Your Inner Darkness

I’m afraid of my inner darkness. That might not be a very surprising statement, because I don’t know many people going around declaring how much they luuuuuuuurve their dark stuff. (Other words for this might be inner demons, or issues, or icky stuff, or what do you call it?)

I had a realisation the other day though: I have this wonderful platform for exploring my darkness in a safe place.

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And yet I don’t. I’m afraid of what might come out. I’m afraid it might not be pretty. I’m afraid I’ll sit down with the intention to connect with some darkness and then for nothing to happen because I don’t even know HOW to do it.

You may have noticed I like to draw pretty faces. Or cute whimsies. I love stuff that looks pretty, cute and colourful. It’s definitely the type of art I enjoy looking at (as evidenced by my Pinterest). I actually even enjoy creating cute & pretty stuff.

It’s not like I don’t like what I create, but when I think about it, I might not feel a deep satisfaction with what I create lately.

This is kind of funny, because a while back I broke through the block of not enjoying the result of what I created (can you say: inner critic?). Then a while after that I broke through the block of not enjoying the process.

And now I’m finding there is another block to encounter & work through. It’s scary, but it’s actually also exciting! It sends such a strong message to me that this is a journey. That whatever we learn and learn to deal with, we’re never done because there’s always MORE. It keeps life (and art!) from getting boring.

So I’m going to be digging in. Trying to access and let flow the scary stuff. Let my own intuition and inner landscape guide me.

Are you with me? Ready to face the scary stuff in a safe space?

Half the time I don't know wtf I'm doing, but I think I have this wish to display to the world that I've got it all figured out. That stuff I do is intentional, you know, with purpose. But I realise I hide behind it. That I pretend even to myself that I know all the steps. It's the really letting go that I'm scared of. On this spread I'm trying. But it's still actively TRYING rather than just LETTING or BEING. It's so scary. It's so exciting. I just want to stick with it and see where this journey takes me. #intuitiveart #lettinggo #artismyteacher #mixedmedia #artjournal #irisimpressionsart

Flowers Grow Out Of Darkness | mixed media in A5 art journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Pink Hills | mixed media in A5 art journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

If You’re Scared Of Making Art

This is for you if you’re feeling scared or intimidated about making art. If you’re having trouble getting started. If you get so deep into the not-good-enough-itis that creating seems impossible. If you need some gentle loving encouragement.

(I recorded this video for Rainbow Journal students, but I thought this might benefit everyone who struggles with these things. You can still sign up!)

So, you know you want to create, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Lots of things can hold us back.

I remember a few years back when during the day at work I’d think constantly about making art, I was overflowing with ideas. Then when I was back at home at my art desk I would be totally paralysed, all the ideas were just gone and I’d end up just watching TV all evening. It wasn’t very satisfying, but the fear was real and hard to deal with.

First of all, I want you to know that it is OK and I understand if you have obstacles or issues. You have some stuff you might not be OK with and need to work through, but YOU are OK and you are wonderful J Be kind to yourself. Take yourself by the hand as if you’re your own caring guardian angel who only wants the best for you and let’s explore the reasons you might be scared. That way you can understand what drives you and stop your fears from having such a hold over you.

Some fears you might be experiencing:

Fear of creating something bad or not being good enough

Hey, you are doing an ecourse! Yay you for taking a positive step to kicking this fear in the butt! You are allowed to practice! You’re allowed to be at a place where your art feels sucky and you’re allowed to get better. Please know that YOU are not your art. You are ALWAYS ALREADY good enough.

Fear of the blank page.

Hey, I’m gonna talk you through everything we do! The first step after creating our journal is painting the pages in bright colours, we won’t even have a blank page to deal with!

Fear of what we might learn about ourselves.

Maybe our dark feelings will come out? Maybe stuff will come up and we won’t know what to do with it? This is difficult, but please talk about it. With us as a supportive group or with the people around you who care. Learning about ourselves is always a good thing, that way things can come into the light rather than controlling us from under the surface.

Comparing ourselves.

So many amazing artists out there, how can we not compare? I love this quote: “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” you are exactly where you need to be. You’re creating YOUR work. Own it!

Fear of criticism.

I think when we fear other people’s criticism so much that it stops us creating, we’re really scared of our OWN criticism. We criticize ourselves and when someone else does it too, we use that as a validation of our feelings which makes the criticism feel 10 times worse. You can find criticism everywhere (especially inside your own head), so choose to follow your path and create anyway.

Fear of creating something good.

It was a fluke right? I’ll never be able to repeat that! Or…. Try to let go of the outcome. That was that artwork… the next artwork is the next artwork. It doesn’t need to be compared, it just is.

Thanks for letting me yak about this! To me it’s actually one of the biggest and most important things, understanding what drives us, what holds us back and what steps we can take towards being on our true path of joy.

Thank you for listening and as parting wisdom let me reassure you that:

You are wonderful. You are enough.

 

 

 

Why Do I Create Art?

why-do-i-create-art[image by Fré Sonneveld]

The simple (and slightly vague) answer is, because it fills my soul. I can’t not create art. I live a full life raising two kids and running a business so it often happens that I can’t create art for a few days. When that happens I just don’t feel quite right, I start getting frustrated and I just feel that pull of needing to create!

I guess that all sounds lovely and divinely inspired, but I want to level with you:

It hasn’t always been this way for me

For years I dabbled with art, stopping and starting, struggling to find a groove, not finding it to be that amazing creative holy grail that I thought it would be. I looked at other people creating their amazing art in their own unique style and it felt SO FAR REMOVED from my reality. It was pretty disheartening.

I kept coming back to it though. There was an attraction to art and to creating art that I couldn’t deny, but I had to do some work on coming to it from the right place, even though at first I didn’t even realise I was coming to it from the wrong place. That ‘place’ I am talking about is how you approach making art in your mind and in your heart.

And I’ll tell you a secret:

It has nothing to do with whether you can or can’t draw

I didn’t fully grasp until the beginning of 2014, when I picked ‘journey’ as my word of the year, that I had been approaching art in a results focussed way, rather than as a process. I wanted to create certain paintings, inspired by what I loved seeing other artists create. I thought the joy was in the completed piece, in the end result. I never thought about how I wanted the creating process to feel or whether that could be something enjoyable too.

Or I thought it was one of those elusive things reserved for other people. They know how to enjoy creating art, but I don’t. Or I attached it to skill: I will start enjoying creating art when I can draw a photo realistic portrait.

I started focussing more on the process. What did I like doing, what materials did I enjoy using, what was it I needed to let go of, what was it I needed to invite more of into my heart & mind? The biggest change that this brought was the realisation that what other people do or like or use does NOT have to be same same as me.

That realisation set me free

I admit that I still get tripped up with this sometimes. I look at the work of artists I admire and I start thinking that because I LOVE their work, somehow my art needs to be like theirs.

It doesn’t.

Asking myself what I like doing and the other questions above, has been transformational. Your answers will probably be completely different from mine: CELEBRATE THAT!

Get to know your own unique loveable fallible quirky amazing self

I realised my passion is doing faces. I don’t like ‘colouring in’ (illustration-type work). I ADORE acrylics but I don’t care as much for watersoluble media. I need(ed) to let go of perfection and the wish for my art to look like other people’s art. I needed to invite more trust in, that my work is just right, right now.

Reading back what I’ve written above makes me feel so excited and amazed that I’ve come so far! It also makes me hopeful that if you are on any stage along a similar journey that you will find reading my story helpful and it will help you be a happier person and artist!

Why do YOU create art?

Let me know in the comments below.