So we are already three days into August my Birthday month, Yay! But I am still feeling the weight of July on me and evidently in my to-do list, it’s not all bad I promise, towards the end of july it was a time for me to be creative, the gym took a back seat (I’m still going at least three times a week) and my bum stayed firmly on the chair at my desk while I drew up new work to show my ability in a variety of styles because you know what why the hell not, I have a grand plan that I am now working towards and it just needs to be done, there is something I have recently figured out, i already kinda knew it, but there isn’t a magic answer for success or happiness, would be fab if you could just go to a shop and buy it. But there’s no one there in the morning telling you to get out of bed and on with work, or making you put the long ours in, its all you. Hard work, passion, hard work, self belief, encouragement, hard work, sweat, tears and you guessed it hard work. I have sadly spent the early part of August questioning my place as an artist, hence my twitter silence and needing a little break from a few forms of social media.
I found since I graduated, five whole years ago (I know ages ago right) that my production rate and self belief in my work has decreased, I found since I discovered the internet and social media the rate has gone hand in hand. Its a double edged sword. Instant place for inspiration, instant place for questioning yourself with a dash of self loathing. Not great for an artists mind, please don’t get me wrong, it has been the best for sharing my work, clients, inspiration, hope and encouraging others. I did however have a dreadful thought the other day, that maybe my work does this to people, maybe my blog and drawings make other people question their ability at what they do, (insanely big headed I know) and I would hate to think no one thinks they’re good enough.
I receive a handful of emails a day mainly from young girls asking me how to become an artist, illustrator or doodler, saying their work isn’t good enough, that they’ll never be able to draw as good as me or other people they find inspiring, it does break my heart a little. Passion for something shouldn’t be squashed because you don’t think you’re good enough. I was lucky between the ages of 5 and 20 that I had no real grasp on the internet, sharing work, we used it for school but we never had a computer at home, so I honed my craft without having to share it with the world, I don’t ever in that time remember looking at a painting and think “oh god that’s awful” I use to look at it and think, “You gave that a fair whack earlier, there is room for improvement, carry on girl” that’s not big headers or me thinking i’m good that’s me making it possible to keep going, if I don’t love what I do no one else will.
When I grew up my art idols were Jacqueline Wilson, Van Gogh, Monet, Gustav Klimt, and all the art teachers I had ever encounters from the primary to secondary school. Majority of the artists were sadly no longer with us, so I stared at paintings and I drew, a lot. We are talking from the moment I came in from school till bed time, I looked at books too dyslexic to read and believe me at the age of 8 when you feel inadequate and stupid (my coping mechanism) when I couldn’t understand the words that I saw on the page I naturally began to analysis the paintings and aspire to one day go to art school and draw all day.
What I am trying to say is if you really want something that badly you’ll find a way to learn, to gain the skills, my library card was my best friend, my cheap paint brushes and palette were holy to me.
Sometimes it’s OK to loose our way and not know how to get back on our path, and by asking people who have paved theirs before you is the best kind of advice, they can’t give you everything as they aren’t you. Van Gogh died a penniless artist but what he put into this world to me is some of the best expressive heart felt work this world has ever seen. If he created something so wonderful and meaningful there is nothing stopping you from putting pen to paper and creating even if its just for yourself, (yes everyone says he’s an artistic genius but do you think at the time that’s what he thought?) put it’s out in the world and you never know what it may evoke in others.
The way we see ourselves and how others see us, be it our size, personality or what we create are separate beings.
Don’t put yourself down or compare what you do with others its so easy, just work, work on yourself, what you are putting out in the world and more importantly nourish yourself. Read a bloody book, keep notes, paint. Go outside and draw people, be amongst it all, sew your own clothes, see your Grandma, be kind to yourself. You aren’t going to get discovered if you censor yourself, be happy, enjoy what you do. Get seen for being who you are and doing what you love, and more importantly develop a thick skin, not everyone is going to like what you do and that’s ok, take encouragement from knowing people have opinions on your work, at least its evoking something and above all else never stop.
HOPE YOU’RE DOING GOOD.