Do you want to take your art to the next level?
Then it is time to not be so gentle to yourself anymore!
Huh? Did I write that? Yes I did! :-) I know this sounds the complete opposite of what we normally say to each other. Most of us are pretty hard on ourselves. We criticize ourselves in a horrible way, expect the impossible of ourselves. And because that hurts, we say nice things to each other, that are not helpful on our journey to becoming better artists.
What if a toddler who has just learned how to walk, expects himself to run a marathon tomorrow? Wouldn't that be crazy? You do this to yourself all the time. You have just learned how to draw and paint. But you are not satisfied with yourself, because you expect yourself to make professional art today (the figurative 'marathon'). You will get there. But just not today or tomorrow.
Would you say to that same toddler: "Walking is good enough, just keep on walking, no need to learn how to run."
No, you wouldn't. You would tell: "Learn how to walk, learn how to walk better. Learn how to run, learn how to run better, practice, try hard and then one day you will run that marathon!"
What if that toddler would be satisfied walking and stop trying to learn how to run? What if the toddler would think with every single step he takes: "Oh, I love taking these tiny steps. I am so good at walking. Walking is good enough." Would he ever run that marathon? Probably not.
You know you do this all the time aswell, don't you? We want to be kind to each other. And some of us were hurt in the past. So we keep on telling to each other: "Your art is good enough. It is pretty the way it is. Just do what you always do and you'll be fine."
Sorry. It just doesn't work like that. The people who say this to each other are kind and loving people. And what they actually mean is that YOU are good enough. YOU are pretty the way you are. YOU should stay who you are and you will be fine. But it doesn't work like that for practicing and developing your skills.
Of course you are good enough the way you are. You are a nice person. Your are good at what you do. But don't tap yourself on your shoulder for on every single step you take (= every drawing or painting you make). Push it a bit further. Try to become better at what you do and don't fear becoming better at what you do.
Let's start making things like you don't care what it looks like. Let's start making things with the only goal is becoming better at what you do. Let's start making 'ugly' things today and not show them to anyone, yay! :-)
(Art by Marieke Blokland, 2005)
What I am going to do today? I am going to make 10 drawings that I am NOT going to show to you!
Hugs to all of you arty folks out there,