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

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

  1. Iris, I love that you posted this today! A few months ago I stopped thinking about making art and started doing it. I am still learning many things, but I have decided to allow myself to enjoy the learning instead of being discouraged. That is definitely a conscious choice but having a positive attitude and simply showing up has made so much difference in my daily practice.

  2. Thanks so much for posting this Iris. It’s *so* encouraging that there’s someone else out there who feels like this…and is honest enough to admit it. Makes it so much easier to create again knowing this, somehow. Thanks again.

    • You’re welcome Clare. Likewise, it’s super encouraging to ME that you let me know this resonated with you. It helps with the creating and blogwriting and sharing (all creativity is inherently vulnerable!)

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