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08.04.14 First flower in quilt

One of my early quilts.  I didn’t see the nuances on the petals at all.  I just didn’t even know that they were there.

07.16.12 6x6 cherries

An early acrylic painting.  you can see that I am now noticing the variations of light and dark and how light bounces around.  That was a break through.

Each day I receive an email from youtube with suggested video selections. Some are interesting, some I never look at and some provide some thought provoking ideas.

I watched part of a video this morning that talked about the “Curse of an Artist”. I can’t say I agreed with some of the premises but I do think that they had some interesting points.

The premise is that when we first start creating art we are really excited and each time we  finish a piece we feel we are learning. I know personally I wanted to show off what I had done because I was so pleased that I was able to carve out time in a very busy life to  follow my dreams. But as artists become more skilled I feel that we grow less satisfied with our most recent work.  We only see the imperfections.  I bet you have heard an artist say “but it isn’t perfect…”  That is often the beginning of listing what we see as our imperfect rendering.

So lets unpick that. Personally when I return to those early works I do kind of cringe at the beginner skill level. But I don’t feel like I would ever want to change the excitement I felt in those early days. It is what kept me returning back to do the work. We need to feel excited, stimulated and successful. That is what encourages us to  remain focused on the learning. It is an integral part to growing to be a better artist.

It didn’t take long after beginning to begin to realize that there are flaws in my works. Every piece has them. Something that didn’t turnout like what I “perfectly” envisioned in my mind. I don’t see that as a curse. In fact I see that as showing how much I have learned and that I need to learn more, becoming increasingly more proficient and skilled along the way. I see it as part of the challenge of being an artist.

But here could be the “curse” problem.  We dismiss, we denigrate the work we have finished, we dishonour our humanity with disappointment.  I listened to the interview and what I heard was a man you said he “hated” a painting that he did which was hanging on the wall behind him at someone else’s home who obviously loves the painting that he created.  To me that was sad.

Now here is how I deal with that feeling I have when the work isn’t perfect. There is a feeling of disappointment that I have in myself for those imperfections. So these days when I finish a piece I immediately put the piece away for a bit of time. Right away I begin the next piece which moves me forward with the skills I learned from the last piece. This way I am always moving forward.

After awhile, be it days or weeks, I bring the hidden art out and much to my surprise I can be more gentle with the piece and with myself. I see the work with new eyes asking the all important question “How did it turn out?”. That simple question redirects my mind into looking at what worked out and what parts of the work were successful. I rarely tell anyone what parts I struggled with because I feel that would be diminishing of my art and ultimately myself. Where is the first place we need to practice kindness…to ourselves!

Here is the video and you judge.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3p6DUh2Nqk

I would like to mention that Mark has a great set of videos if you are interested in learning to paint in oil.  He is very skilled and the information he shares is top notch!  🙂

What in your life do you need to look at differently and maybe find a way to be more gentle?

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