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Not Alone – Artist to Artist Thoughts

Red Barn in soft pastel in grassy field at twilight

Not Alone – 11×12 soft pastel on sanded paper

Chasing Perfection.  Do you?  Are you constantly worrying and fretting over your work?  Are you comparing yourself to someone else and their work, their journey, their results?

I know I am and I know I do and it frustrates the heck out of me.  I fall into the trap EVERY TIME and I wonder how and why I’ve gotten to such a low point.  Why am I unhappy?  Why do I feel like a failure?

I am results oriented and my personality is such that I like to be busy and I like to accomplish.  I want to feel like what I am doing is worthy and therefore, that I am.  I know this is faulty thinking but I also know that it’s not easy to give up this thinking and settle on something else.  I know in my head these things but my heart is too fragile and too sensitive.

Why am I creating art? What do I have to say and why am I saying it? Does anyone care and who is ever going to see it?

(Deep Breath)

Does this sound familiar to you?  I’m willing to bet that if you are creative in any capacity (and not just in the arts) that you have felt similarly.  We compare and we fail and we try harder and then still compare and still fail.  We may have brief moments of wonder and happiness when our work gets noticed, we win an award, we get into a show, but then inevitably we have to go back into the studio, stare at a blank canvas (or stage, or paper, or computer screen…you name it),  and try to recreate that moment, that feeling again.  It’s so lonely.

Comparison will destroy and so will perfection.  We can’t attain it.  Ever.  So what do we do about it?  How do we battle?  How can we avoid the trap?

I’m not really sure actually, but I’m trying.  I know that for me, my faith and my spirituality is the number one weapon I have.  The belief that I was made exactly as I am and the fact that creativity was given to me as a precious tool to express the world as I see it.  That’s a very comforting thought.  I am not striving to be an artist; I am an artist. It’s a humbling statement though.  It sounds self-involved and too proud and I often cringe when people ask me what I do.  It sounds phony. Me, imagining…. “No one is an ARTIST.  Like, maybe Michelangelo.  You’re too ordinary.” (Gosh the mind can be brutal).

So where is my rambling going?  Really nowhere.  Just being honest, putting real thoughts onto this blank space in the hopes that if YOU are in your studio right now, checking FB or reading some blog about how to be more successful, how to code better SEO (oh spammers please quit sending me emails on how to improve my on-page SEO!), how to be better at whatever it is….you’re NOT alone.  As a community, artists, people who feel a great need to express, I see you and I understand.  I want you to know that you are loved, that you are inspiring with your tenacity and fervor.  I notice your work and am blown away by your originality and voice.   Don’t stop making art.  Don’t stop creating.  Don’t stop telling the world what you see and feel even if you think no one is watching.  The world needs beauty, inspiration, and light.

Today, you win the award for just being you and doing what you do.  And tomorrow you do, too.  And then the next day.

We are all in this together and we don’t have to be alone.

xxoo

Bethany

 

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By | 2017-02-06T10:56:13+00:00 February 19th, 2016|

2 Comments

  1. tammy March 8, 2016 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I can relate to nearly every.single.word., so much so that it seems you took the thoughts right out of my own head and put them down on paper so much more eloquently than they were fluttering around in my mind! And it is so reassuring and comforting to know at least one other person feels the same way. I can’t tell you how much I needed to read this post right now, today. I’m going to print it out and post it next to my easel. Thank you again for writing this – it is more appreciated than you will ever know. Virtual hugs to you.

  2. tammy March 8, 2016 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Also, I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed looking through your online galleries – such beautiful paintings! Your trees especially are simply stunning. 🙂

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