When I think about my art, it feels like there are so many difficult miles between me and where I want to go. If you're an artist, you probably know what I mean. It's like climbing a mountain! Sometimes it's thrilling, and other times depressing, but most of the time it's simply overwhelming. Can I do this? Which path do I take? How do I go about it? It's all so nebulous, and I feel so ill-equipped. It's like I'm weighed down by an introverted personality and dragging a cart-full of self-doubt every step of the way.
Lately, I’ve been trying to return to the carefree mindset I used to have, and last weekend I remembered something else I had forgotten. I was visiting a small art exhibit at a local fair and saw a woman standing in front of a group of paintings. She was expressing how self-conscious she was about the quality of her work-- or, what I thought was her work. It turned out that she was so afraid of not being "good enough" that she hadn’t even entered anything in the show. She was apologizing for work we hadn’t even seen!
I remember feeling the exact same way. I remember ten years of not making art at all after an art school teacher told me I should never paint again. I remember visiting a small gallery in Newburyport, MA where I saw the work of Karen Jones, and I wanted to do what she was doing so badly it hurt. And I remember the terror and joy of entering (and being accepted) into my first juried show at the Newburyport Art Association.
That was fifteen years ago. Now I am doing what Karen is doing! And so I'm remembering that being so focused on the path ahead can cause one to lose perspective. It's important to recognize and appreciate how far we've already come. Thank you Karen for all of the inspiration you've given me. Thank you Newburyport Art Association for the classes and shows that have helped me build my confidence.
And to that artist-in-hiding, the former-me, just take the next step. It doesn't have to be a big one - just enough to make you a little uncomfortable. That's the only way to build confidence for the next step, and then the next until you're finally doing that which you only dreamed of before.
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