What I have seen and experienced, is that every one struggles with the inner voices of doubt, no matter what their background, training, skill level… we all fall somewhere on that spectrum, seeing it all from a perspective that is an amalgamation of our whole life of experiences, values, beliefs, opportunities, losses, etc etc. And at certain seasons, we are all more sensitive to how we ‘measure up’ to those around us, or even to an idea in our own minds – and I’ve yet to meet a creative that doesn’t have fear of being an imposter in the art world somehow.
Please know that it is a season, very relevant to how we humans experience our own transformation in the creative process, and that by coming to your practice (and not abandoning it), you will find the season to be ripe with its own gifts for growth….
Intuitive painting can crack you open to places of truth and healing within yourself (as it so often does when we give ourselves to it). For me personally, when the comparison gremlin is paralyzing me from actually painting, then it’s time to move inward and honor my practice and the sacredness of it more deeply – turning off the noise and computer. Choosing what I allow in, mindfully and carefully, for a time. Because having a practice is more important to me personally than how it looks anywhere ‘out there’… the practice is the gift. I make a lot of paintings I don’t like aesthetically, that I never share… it’s OK.
The other piece that I feel compelled to say, that may help, is to invite you to begin to notice when those crummy feelings come up, and to choose language and tone with yourself that is more like what you would say to your own child or grandchild if they were beginning the lifelong journey of being an artist. You would understand that everyone starts somewhere, that skill comes with practice, and you would want deeply to nurture that creative spirit with nothing but love and encouragement. If taking a class on skill or technique might help them, you might even sign them up. If they needed most to express their own voice freely, you would support that intuitive discovery as well.
We all fall somewhere on the Spectrum at any given time, and we change positions often in life, I find. Offer yourself the same grace and patience you would a loved one… this can shift things drastically. Let everyone else discuss what they think art is in the context of their own understanding – while they do that, just keep making it.
Skills can be learned by anyone with time and tools… but sometimes I think the greatest art in all we do is in the devotion of Presence we offer to the practice. This is what makes an artist.
Be in your own art process, whatever that looks and feels like. Show up. It is a temple.
[my own reply to an honest, heartfelt sharing in the comment section here, on another post. Just in case you need to hear these words today, as well…]
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