Inspired by this starkly honest post by an artist after my own heart, Valeria Chua, I’ve decided it’s confession time.
Sometimes, I struggle with painting so much I don’t enjoy it.
Then, I feel guilty about not enjoying it.
I wonder when the day will come that I can consistently pull-off paintings without major learning curves to climb.
I wonder how much more progress other artists would have made given the same amount of time that I’ve had to develop my skills.
In the same breath I admonish myself for not simply enjoying the process with no thought for the final product, and then wonder how anyone can make anything of quality this way.
I worry about how much paint I’m going through without results.
Valerie talked about being fixated on being best at what she’d decided to be best in yet realising that she wants a simple life. That she doesn’t really want a name, or to be great. That she just wants to be happy.
I don’t know how I feel about that but I do know that I don’t want my happiness to be contingent upon how well I smeared some paint onto canvas on any given day. I want to be able to laugh it off, learn something, and carry on. I need to disentangle my sense of self-worth from skills I have mastered (or am yet to master).
Upon the advice of a much trusted artist friend, I’ve started reading “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I’ve only read the introduction and already I’m thinking, “I need some of what this guy’s got going on”. He says that at the end of the day he doesn’t even think about whether or not the work he’s produced is any good!
If you can relate to any of this, maybe you’d like to read “The War of Art” along with me. If not, do share your secret in the comments!