In December, I gave myself the task of painting practice. I started off with lines. It started well but I soon lost interest when I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. My pieces didn’t look as good as the examples I had seen been created by certain artists. I felt demoralised falling into that comparison trap. I gave up, telling myself I was no good and a fraud. I was being the party pooper.
This is a habit I’ve fallen into quite a lot over the years. Forgetting that it took the master painters years before they reached the point of being any good or gaining recognition. And some, for example like Vincent van Gogh, didn’t gain recognition until after their death. Right up to that point, Van Gogh still kept practicing and painting never giving up on his vision, his craft. And only through Jo van Gogh-Bonger, his sister-in-law, loaning and selling his paintings and publishing van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo, her husband, did he gain his rightful place in art history.
For this to happen, after his death which he had no way of knowing, he had to do the work. He still had to show up and paint and make mistakes. Face disappointments and worries and doubts. He still had to believe in himself.
When things are difficult and not turning out the way you envisioned while creating, it can be a Herculean feat to keep believing in yourself and what you are trying to do. It is easy to give up, as I did in December. The pressure I was putting on myself to be good just wasn’t warranted. It took all the fun out of it. I’d forgotten I was only supposed to be playing and having fun not creating masterpieces.
This year, I’m up for some fun. I’m taking the pressure off myself and taking more risks just for the hell of it. For the thrill. I’m excited to see where this leads in my practice. I’m keeping my eyes on my page and seeking all the delights it can bring.