Ola fabulous monkey face. ;) You’re not a monkey, no you’re not, you’re a divine being of light, sometimes you just don’t know it or feel it, but it’s truuuuuuuuuuue! :)
So I’ve been doing a lot of art lately (when am I not, lol) and posting progress shots on instagram and on the book of faces and I commented a bit more on my work than usual; somewhat critically here and there, like; oh, mh, not sure about the eyes, or I liked the sketch better etc. And quite a few people expressed relief at knowing that I too, sometimes, struggle with my work. Bing bong news flash! Of course I struggle too!
And just in case you’re not hearing this message clearly, I want to eradicate all doubt on your part: ZOMG I STRUGGLE SO HARD SO OFTEN EXACTLY LIKE YOU SOMETIMES.
Ok, maybe slightly less than you or maybe slightly more than you. It all depends on where you are in your creative journey. I think the struggle lessens the longer you do something (I’ve been at this baby for quite some time now), but seriously: ‘awful’ art work still flows from out of my fingers sometimes. For serious people. Not everything I make is imbued with inexplicable devastating beauty (hahahaha). Whaatttt? Surely this is false information Tam?! You have the Midas touch, everything you touch, turns into gold!!! ;P Just kidding.
Ok, I’ll end with the funny sarcasm now. I just wanted to pop in here and really let you know that we all struggle. I struggle, you struggle, they struggle, we struggle (this is starting to sound like a grammar lesson. Je suis, tu est, il est, elle est LOL). The point is: you are not alone in this and your & my struggling is ok. Making art you don’t like is ok. It’s a normal/ healthy part of the creative process. No doubt that it can feel awfully shitty, I know. Oh my God SO shitty. Sometimes it can MAKE YOUR SOUL BLEED. This is because we equate our worthiness to ‘how good think our art is’. For some reason we see our creations as extensions of ourselves. It’s like we’re parading naked in front of an audience. Our painting represents the deepest most inner most vulnerable parts of ourselves. So if we think to ourselves: this painting is the shittiest thing ever created on the face of the earth, then we suddenly also go to: therefore I, am the shittiest thing ever created on the face of the earth. And that kind of thinking can make your soul bleed (at least it does mine).
It’s so weird that one, we only seem to do it with creative ability. I mean: if you’re not great at let’s say; learning French, most people might be a tad frustrated or just find it funny, but you don’t go: I’m such a terrible horrible person, I suck at learning French, I’m the worst, I should die now. But when we create a painting we don’t like, all of a sudden we’re all deeply dramatic wanting to jump off bridges or worse: put the paints away forever.
The thing is not to let your ‘bad’ paintings (and your ‘bad’ thinking) deter you from making art. I know: it’s hard to keep making art when you’re in the middle of seething self-hatred watching your soul bleed out. Believe me, I’ve been there. But! You are a Creative Warrior and you must go on. Smear that turquoise paint on your face like war paint and jump back onto the easel. Appreciate your shitty paintings, let them go lovingly, thank them for what they taught you, keep on going. Creating art sometimes confronts you with your greatest demons, creating art can also release you from them. When you do the work, when you keep going, when you awaken to your stories, you release yourself. Stare the demons right in the face and when you feel brave enough give them a warrior cuddle (not many people know this but the best way to get rid of a demon is to cuddle it, not bludgeon it ;)). If you bludgeon demons they’ll only grow 3 extra heads. It’s through love love LOVE, WARRIOR FIERCE FEISTY LOVE that the demons will transform into loveable kittens. Art is like a mirror. What shows up in your life, shows up on the canvas/ paper. You can hide and run or you can face it all and keep going! (BTW: you can also take little naps and breaks from all the doing and being, I’m all for RAH Creative Warrior Monster Cuddles, but naps and taking breaks and being kind to yourself are BEYOND important too!) :)
I dunno, I’ve gone off on a inspirational talk tangent now. haha. All I’m trying to say is: I struggle too, you know. And it’s ok.
Here is a photo of a selection of recent paintings that I’ve all ‘cast off’ as ‘not good enough’. I get that some of you might say: ‘waaah, you’re “not good enoughs” are my “amazing paintings” ‘ – that is not the point. Don’t compare your stuff to my stuff. We are at different stages, for me, those paintings represent my demons and struggles, they are part of my personal creative journey and they are only struggles now because of where I am now. If I’d made them 6 years ago I’d probably be super proud. You see? It’s all about where you’re at on your journey. The point here is: those paintings were done in the last 2 weeks or so, I didn’t like any of them (the one with the most colour on it, I did like up to a certain point and then she lost it all, she is sort of salvageable but I’m totally annoyed with that painting now so she’s probably a lost cause, that’s how it goes for me) but during that week of making paintings I didn’t like, I pressed on and 3 paintings I really LOVED were also birthed. See below. :)
- Everyone struggles, even your “heroes”, even the “famous ones”, even the most “revered ones”, even the ones that seem to “have it all”. We ALL struggle. You are not alone in this. You, me, them, everyone. Il, Ils, Elle, Nous, Toi, Tu. ;) Wow, I’m remembering quite a bit of high school French here haha.
- Don’t equate your creative abilities to your worthiness, I say this over and over but can’t be said enough; you are a worthy human being in spite of your ability to make pretty paintings or not. I know society tells you differently, society’s thinking is distorted, dysfunctional and way too influenced by capitalism, power hungry media and dated patriarchal systems. Society sucks donkey balls and is all kinds of off; it doesn’t seem to understand that we are inherently all divine light beings. Be understanding; society is slow and confused and will eventually catch up.
- Notice and become aware of negative self talk, watch the thoughts like dark little clouds fly by: don’t attach to or identify with the thoughts. Be the observer of the thoughts, don’t swallow them, don’t believe them, they are figments of your imagination.
- Be a Creative Warrior: keep going. Creating is GOOD FOR THE SOUL, HEART & MIND.
- If you’re wanting to improve your art work, compare your work ONLY to your own previous work then DELIGHT in the progress you’ve made. Don’t compare your work to other people’s: it will make your soul bleed, stop it now. When you do find yourself slipping: be loving and kind towards yourself. Being grumpy at yourself/ telling yourself how shitty you are for comparing your work to other people’s work and wanting to make pretty art makes you sad. Be kind, be gentle, be understanding. You are loved.
- Be kind to yourself. To your paintings. To your toes. To your smile. To your heart. To your eyelashes. To your wrinkles. To your snoring. To your stomach. To your breasts. To your liver. To your soul. Be kind and forgiving. The worst dismisser of yourself is you. I know because I’m the worst dismisser of myself.
Here are the 3 paintings that made it beyond the cut in the last 2 weeks, I love them AND I still see room for improvement but I don’t beat myself up over it, I just make mental notes (particularly on ‘wonky eyes’ ehehe):
Here are the larger versions:
Now and if you’re curious, here are some of my older paintings circa 2007/ 2008:
Note the progress my work has made since then. And note that my work can also still further progress as all of your works can.
This painting gig is all about practise practise practise and keeping on going on and not let yourself be defeated by your demons, inner negative self talk, comparison to other people’s work, ENJOYING THE PROCESS and becoming aware and awake of your stories; the ones that hold you back.
Trust that over time your work will become more refined but don’t make it the point of your creative process; ironically; non-attachment to outcome will paradoxically help you reach your goal of ‘pretty paintings’ more quickly (it can’t be your goal though, ah man the paradox is hurting my head! I think there is a very deep and wise zen parable in there somewhere; don’t want and you’ll get it, want it and you won’t lol, I’m gonna go to sleep now).
Anyhoo that’s a blog post for another time. :)
PS. Give-Away! Leave a comment below telling me which of the 3 of the blue haired girls paintings
(the ones that made it beyond the cut) is your favourite and why and I’ll draw a winner who’ll get a free print of their favourite blue haired girl! :)
PPS. If you want to work on dealing with self-doubt/ the inner critic/ negative self-talk in relation to your life and art-making,
Life Book 2016 is ALL about that. I hope you’ll join, almost 950 amazing people have already joined! See you there! :)