Journey Line – The lesson Learned
A Compulsion to Create
This character is called St. Stives. Named because I drew the sketch in St Ives, Cornwall. I like using certain attachments, loose or otherwise, regarding the naming of my work. Not always, but more often than not. These cherubim style characters are a new thing. Angelic little faces yet coloured and textured with a dirty, rough style, as is my process.
Every time an artist makes a mark there comes a promise of something new. Perhaps not always fantastic and maybe not always finished. But something new regardless. Even if the sketchbook page is torn out, disregarded or destroyed, something new would have occurred. The journey of line is something that I am compelled to explore daily. Almost obsessively. It wasn’t always like that. There were times when I could go for days, weeks even months without drawing something or making a mark. Now I just have a constant and inescapable urge to create, to jot down at least some reference of an idea in one form or another. Much of this has come from my own experiences through creativity and what it means to me to be an artist, mixed with my own philosophies regarding forward movement in life, who I am, and what makes me tick in general. What do I mean by this?
Anxiety and Imposter Syndrome
Am I good enough? Could I be better? Am I where I want to be? These and many other questions often enter the minds of the creative professional. I feel that most artists, at least most of the ones that I have met, have an overwhelming urge to be better and constantly get better in their individual pursuits. This might not be the most surprising statement to make, after all, we all strive to be good at what we do and perhaps be the best that we can be in any given pursuit in life. There was a time, many years ago, when I found that my constant need to get better meant that I got into a space where I wouldn’t create art unless I knew it was going to be better than the last thing that I made. What a terrible place that was. Such a ridiculous burden to put upon one’s self. It was not without a whole heap of anxiety issues to boot.
Once I noticed that this was a destructive place to have got to, that it was stopping me from putting my foot forward and isolating me from the very thing that I loved doing, I knew I had to change the script. So I did!
I’m Good Enough
Experience helps you get better!
A bold statement, but for the most part experience of something in a positive or negative sense is going to make you more aware of what that thing is. You will gather a greater knowledge of how to deal with it, how it works and an awareness of how you react to whatever that something is. Regarding art and creativity, as with any practice, the more that you do the better you will get. At the very least, you will become more aware of the materials that you are exposed to, how they react to each other, how you react to them and what you can do with them in your own unique creative way. You will also get a better appreciation of how all these things fit together into the bigger picture of who you are as a creative artist, perhaps even as a person in general. Immersing yourself in something will inevitably bring about a better connection to that something and with that, a better understanding.
When I was blocked from ‘doing’, due to my self imposed restrictions, I was fortunate enough to have these things drawn to my attention. Partly through my own observations and partially because of conversations with peers etc. Having thought about these issues, and having considered them at length, I realised that the best way forward was to move forward. To do instead of not doing. Since I made that decision, not only have I learned more about my skill set, I have had a better appreciation of who I am as an artist. I’ve been able to reconsider the fact that there are no mistakes in the journey of art, just experiences. Experiences to derive value from, enjoy and have as a part of my unique journey, also contribute to my creative skill set. If we decide that we are good enough to create in any given moment, to enjoy that creativity and relish the experience fluidly, the inevitable outcome is that we will progress anyway. Without anxiety and probably at a pace.
Another thing that stopped me ‘doing’, was measuring myself against other artists. There will always be greater and lesser spirits in this world. The journey of quality experiences, and applying the wonderful things that influence us in a positive way, is as good a journey as we will ever make. So doing rather than not doing is very much the way forward.
I saw this quote recently that sat well with me. ‘You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.’ – Maya Angelou.
Create. Make. Colour. Scribble. Glue. Carve. Splash. Splat. Scrub. Spray. Stitch. Polish. Scrape. Draw, Draw, Draw…
Doing is the way forward. Being proactive in your creativity is the journey. If you do it with wild abandon, with fascination and excitement of that journey, all of your outcomes will be pure joy.
This lesson I learned was many years ago now, but I wanted to share it and have it written down as a reference. I hope it makes sense to you and that you get something out of it. The outcome of the lesson is, even though I keep improving, is that I am good enough. Always!
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