“Figure out who you are and be the hell out of that”
For the artist, there is a seemingly endless list of fears, misconceptions, and excuses that get in the way of making art, and it is only by recognizing and facing these demons that you will be able to realize your goal to become a good artist. I’ll just lay a list of some of the most common demons (as I see it) today, and then deal with each one in greater depth in upcoming posts. They are not in any order of importance or seriousness, and while some artists have to deal with only one or two of these issues, some find themselves suffering from nearly all of them. The first step is to consider each issue in relation to your own situation, and determine, honestly, what impact it has on your art-making.
1. Fear of failure/criticism
2. Unrealistic expectation
3. Self-doubt (lack of confidence)
6. Choice of medium
10. Lack of focus
12. Misunderstanding of your intent
13. Misunderstanding yourself
“Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.” David Bly
In my earlier observations on artistic talent, I said that there are 4 primary reasons that everyone doesn’t make good art. One of these reasons is unrealistic expectations (belief in art myths). And one of the most damaging of these myths is that if you are a really good painter, a painting will flow effortlessly from beginning to end. Anyone who is an accomplished painter will find this thought laughable. Yes, making art is often exhilarating and flowing, but making art is frequently hard, frustrating work. If you don’t have the self-discipline and confidence to power through those difficult times, your work will never improve.
The only way to get better at making art is to make art. It is that simple.
You can read books and magazine articles, watch videos, take workshop after workshop, assemble the finest and most comprehensive range of art materials that money can buy, build a state of the art studio, but until you have done 1000 paintings you won’t be a good painter. Until you have done 1000 drawings you won’t be good at drawing. (I just made those numbers up to make my point…….999 paintings might do the job)
The Nike slogan applies here……”JUST DO IT!”