Making art can often be very difficult. Creating anything which even looks presentable can sometimes be hard. But making is a part of who we are, as human beings — the creative species — and as individuals. Whether it is a lovely recipe or a beautiful house, or a neat and attractive garden, we are all creative in one way or another.
Some people decide to draw, paint or sculpt. Designers design fantastic graphics, which we continually consume online, and in the media. Some write. But, what does it take to make that leap of faith to put pen to paper, mouse to screen, and actually create something worthwhile?
As children we were so good at creating highly original symbolic and compositional pieces. Then around the age of about 10–11 we develop the idea of drawing ‘realistically,’ and try to draw what we see. This is the hard part. This is when most of us give up on art, because we think we cannot draw anymore. Because we capture what we see. The problem, however, is not in the drawing, but in the seeing.
So, we try to draw something and it turns out wrong, then our friend looks over our shoulder and laughs at the result — or worse — the teacher shows it to the class and they all laugh; or even the teacher might laugh at a very poor result. (I would hope not in this era). So, we grow up thinking that we cannot draw.
When we grow up, we may scribble occasionally, then a friend might say: “I didn’t know you could draw?” and we feel the urge to take it up again. But where do we start?
We might not have been making what we would be happy to call ‘art’ for long. Just drawing ever so often will not make one a good artist. It takes perseverance and practice and hard work. We need to draw every day (which, having just attempted ‘Inktober’ for the first time last year, I know is very difficult).
Which is why when we look at our artwork, we start to beat ourselves up.
“This isn’t good enough. You’re never going to be good enough…” and the spiral heads on downwards.
Sometimes it helps to give yourself a pat on the back.
The idea of appreciating your own work can seem big-headed and self-important, but it’s not. It is all about giving yourself some positive self-talk. Enough to carry on and keep making art. Because, when we are young, we often don’t get that encouragement to keep going. Especially with something as flighty as art or writing.
“You can’t make a living with that — try something else,” could be the mildest reprimand we get from parents. But creating is in our make-up. We must create. Or cease to be true to ourselves.
And, it’s not all about the hours. Or even outstanding talent. It’s about the enjoyment. And no matter how much you feel you must work at it to improve, always remember to enjoy it.
Remember, throughout this process, to love yourself. Love your work.
Be impressed by that cool flourish. Be impressed by that turn of phrase. Tell yourself that no-one else could come up with just that expression.
And you might be right. You are unique.
So, if you think that by admiring your own work will lead to you getting a swollen head and no more followers, think again. By doing what you love, sincerely, and getting better at it, you will attract like-minded people, who love your work.
The White paper Creative recently put together a sip and paint evening to allow some like-minded people to appreciate themselves. It was an evening to love yourself. Love what you do. Appreciate your art and remember to enjoy the process.