I struggle to fully embrace myself as an artist and honor ideas by transferring them out of my head and into physical space. A heavy feeling that I am contributing to more of the Earth’s trash/garbage has been a persistently persuasive voice that ceases momentum. Continuing to ignore this mass of creative energy is no longer an option for me.
Any advice on how to reconcile this shame/guilt associated with creating in order to proudly come out as an artist?
Thanks for reading this :)
Two Triangle Crosses 1 by Allyson Grey
Thanks for writing to share the obstacle you are placing in the way of your creative joy. When the work you are creating is beautiful, the shame disappears. When the work is amateurish, not developed or in an ugly transitional phase of skill accomplishment, we may feel frustrated spending the time and materials pursuing the artwork we envision, the best results to which we aspire. Shame and guilt can come from our disappointment in not already being the artist we wish to be.
Practice is not “getting it right.” Practice is doing it over and over. If we have not been doing yoga, we may not be able to touch our toes, but if we practice everyday for a week, improvement is in evidence very soon. Like practicing an instrument, we have to make a commitment to it - everyday, if possible, but at least a few times a week to see improvement. To become good at anything in the physical world, we need to put in the time. Select the best time and keep your appointments. Taking a class is a good way to ensure that commitment.
In a material world practice, we need to designate a space. Gather your materials around a desk, table or easel that you can “own” for this activity. Make that space, even a corner of a room, attractive and a place to which you will enjoy returning. If your designated spot for doing yoga was under your coffee table, your chances lessen in being attracted to that activity daily. If your art supplies are not where you need them, say, they are all in a basement or chilly garage, that activity is being given a low priority and will not attract your best work. You should be able to drop into a space with proper light with your materials around you when you are ready to work.
Looking at art that you admire, consider the materials that attract you. Then gift yourself with the BEST materials you can afford. Crummy brushes or cheap paint will frustrate your results. Supplies can be simple and few but must be of the finest quality. Best paper. Best brushes. Best paint. Simple investment, all available online. Knowing more about the work you’d like to create, I and others can help with recommendations on materials. A class can be helpful for this sort of advice, as well.
Content is among the most important considerations. What do you want to make art about? Look at a lot of art to cultivate this understanding. Go to art exhibits to see originals and notice what attracts your sensibilities. Look at art books and study the art of others online and through Instagram. Follow the artists whose work you admire.
BE - DO - HAVE — in that order
First, BE an artist. Say to yourself, “I AM an artist.” DO what artists DO. Take classes and plan time for your work. Act like an artist, driven toward your passion. Then, you will HAVE what artists HAVE - beautiful art that you are proud to share, exhibitions, sales & commissions, a direction in your creative life.
Get feedback from those who support your commitment. Again, a workshop can kickstart your practice. Send me examples online and I’d be pleased to look at a few works and offer evolutionary suggestions from a place of honesty and support. Family & friends, our children are good resources for frank feedback.
Look at your best past work and any new work and ask these questions: What works in this piece? What does not work here? If I were to do this work again, how would I do it a second time. Do it again. And again.