Being an Artist can be really scary sometimes. Whether we're a Musician, Chef or Visual Artist, coming out of the cave and sharing our work with others is an extremely vulnerable thing to do. It opens us up to dreaded criticism ... which most of us are so afraid of because we're already plagued with it within our own minds.
What will others think? What if they think my work is shitty? If I'm not confident if this is any good, should I just keep it to myself? Often, this can result in stifling our work to fit within what we feel is acceptable to others.
Here is an Artwork I created a few months ago, which felt finished compositionally, but not feelingly. As an Expressive Artist, there is this dance I do between expressing my feelings freely and bringing an Artwork together into a cohesive whole ... a tension between process and product.
Often I'm not always entirely sure what I want to say in my work, I'm just following an 'inner nudge', a tacit feeling. In the instance of this painting above, all I knew is that I wanted to reflect an emerging sense of spaciousness in my Life. So I began with introducing light paint and went from there.
'Painting over' feels initially scary, then really, really good. It's a little bit like being on a roller coaster ride ... you reach the peak where your stomach drops, knowing you're about to quickly descend into scream-worthy territory. If you can let go and enjoy the ride, it can be exhilarating.
But that's not where the fear lives for me. Painting over is something I've done so many times, I almost dare myself to do it these days. What I'm really afraid of is this:
I think my work is not sophisticated enough to call myself an Artist.
Ever since I was little, I have adored drawing and painting. Most of my Life I have create directly from my imagination/intuition and in more recent grown-up years, I have begun incorporating inspirations from Life.
But whenever I draw with paint, I tell myself that my work looks too naive. My drawings are expression of the essence of real-life (how it 'feels' to me), because I have no inclination to sit for hours recreating a petal to look exactly like a photograph.
Instead, I just express with paint and then often judge myself as not accurate enough. Go figure.
I worry I'm a fraud.
I don't know what to do with my Art.
I try to be perfect, yet I don't even want to be.
And I worry whether you'll you'll see through my colourful facade and understand that inside, I'm a strange mix of creative confidence laced with quivering fear.
My secret fear is that my work is too childlike, naive and unsophisticated and when I'm in this mindset, I can find so many other Artists' work that make me believe this is true.
But bravely I keep creating, because once again I realise I'm just dancing between process and product. When I step into process, I know I create because it's what I Love to do. When I step into product, I try to make my Art look how I think it should ... and myself into who I think I should be.
But I need both parts. For me, it's learning to be at ease with this tension that will always exist if I'm painting what both feels AND looks beautiful for me.
Like you, I am here learning. I am still uncovering who I am and who I am not. I'm working out who I want to be and how to align with that. I'm trying to Live by my real values and let go of those imposed upon my by others. I'm just fumbling through and using my Art to express my journey.
So here is where I've come to, so far. The floral section in the middle has taken a lot of tweaking, because it represents the Love emanating from my heart. A canvas just isn't big enough, but it's the closest I can get for now! I wanted my heart bouquet to stand on it's own within space, because this is what I choose to focus on more and more in my Life. I'm slowly letting the fear-talk gently drift by while I accept myself and my experience, more and more in each moment.
I think this is what growing up is all about. I'll be sure to share the finished product with you when I finish it.
All my Love,