Are You a Beginner Artist?

Are you a beginner artist? So was I. Still am, in lots of ways.

**TL;DR It’s a journey, a beautiful, messy and painful journey. It’s worth it in the end, because you’re making YOUR art. **

? I wrote this in the Life Book taster group and thought I’d share it here too:

I’ve been reading the posts in here, and seeing the anguish some of you are going through, especially when confronted with the beautiful art, the skilled art, the art of those who have been creating for many years. Every time I read someone express their frustration, impatience, disappointment with their own art, or their own potential art (especially when comparing to others – and sure, you know you’re not supposed to, but as a beginner (or maybe just as a human), how could you not?!) my heart hurts, and I sympathise, because I’ve been there. That was me in the past. And when I’m not being mindful and staying on my own path: that still sometimes is me in the present.

So I wanted to share this little collage with you. Not just showing you one of my first creations and one of my latest (like a way of saying “look, I was terrible then, but I’m good now!”), but also the ones in the middle. They show a very specific journey. A journey that was mostly this long because I didn’t make any art for many many years in the middle, because I was too scared. I let my “Gap” be very long. (Referencing an Ira Glass quote about beginners disliking their own art)

2007 – One of my first creations. Inspired by other artists drawing whimsical girls and doing mixed media. I love this now, but at the time I just had an overwhelming feeling of it being not good enough. I felt like I was striving for some unattainable ideal. That awe that I felt when I saw other people’s art, art that I felt was “good”, unlike my own. It was that feeling that made me leave weeks, months, years between creative sessions. It felt terrible, I felt terrible.

2013 – I took Life Book and realised I could make pretty art! In the past I always thought that once I could make art I was happy with I’d have it made! I imagined I’d be so pleased with myself, and then I’d be creating ALL THE TIME. But I wasn’t…

2016 – My art slowly morphed, I definitely made a lot more art (there was no longer the obstacle of not liking my art – but the motivation could still often be lacking for weeks or months at a time) and I started developing my own style. I realised though that I was still holding on to an ideal, it was an amalgamation between wanting to make pretty things, wishing my art could look like other popular artists’ art, wanting to be liked, wanting my art to be liked (oh the curse of social media and those ‘likes’!) and fear of anything that didn’t quite fit into that.

2021 – I don’t remember exactly when it was, but at a certain point (or perhaps more truthfully, this wasn’t a specific ‘point’, it was a gradual process that feels like ‘a point’ when looking back, but wasn’t as clear cut or simple when I was going through it) I said “*bleep* it, I want to express myself, embrace imperfection and JUST CREATE”. Which is how I ended up with my raw, quirky, emotional, asymmetrical and unique art & style. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s MINE, and it’s exactly what I want to be expressing at this moment in time. It’s kind of priceless to be honest.

So all of this to say: it’s a process, a journey. Maybe there is no one defining ‘aha’ moment, but if you dare to move forward and create art, you’ll find the journey is made up of so many aha moments, and you’ll get closer and closer to ‘your art’, which is the only art that matters.

PS full disclosure: I still struggle, I still get doubts, I still compare myself, I still get envious, I still don’t always feel good enough. In spite of all that, I create.

If you read to the end, please have this cookie as a reward: ?

By Iris

Hi I'm Iris! I'm a mixed media artist, teacher & vlogger from London, UK. I make raw, quirky and emotive art. Online I inspire & encourage people to make their own unique art and express themselves.

4 replies on “Are You a Beginner Artist?”

Exactly how I feel with most projects I start. That voice says it doesn’t look right or that’s not important right now, or not at all. Trying to please someone else is a lot more dificult than pleasing me. Art for me in what ever form, is a place to bring a memory an idea or just a for fun thing to reality. I would say I am beginning a journey to learn new things and yes for some art I am a beginner. But we must start some place.

This was so encouraging Iris thank you for sharing how vulnerable you felt in the beginning I’m with you there sometimes those voices in are heads are hard to shut up the inner critic wants us to believe what it says I’m in my later years and have listened to it far too long. Life Book would be a great tool to learn from some amazing artists thank you for the opportunity to win a spot 😊

I would be over the moon to win a chance at such an amazing opportunity. My husband refuses to allow me to buy the classes as he won’t spend money on my “little hobby”.

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