Wait a minute, shouldn’t play be fun and non-threatening? Absolutely, but you may have been a toddler the last time you were able to play without any gremlin voices chiming in. As adults we play games, sports, even experiment with art and craft; yet now play always seems to have an element of purpose or evaluation. Yes, you do learn with focused exploration but what happens if you can just let go and try something new without judgement? Pretty tough to do. We think we should be in charge and skilled even if we have never tried something before. In college I bluffed my way into a computer coding course and then really scrambled to get up to speed. I would have been better served to stay with the beginners and get a solid foundation; then I might have stuck with it instead of being frustrated.
On the flip side, do you have the courage to say "look at me"? How many times have you discounted a compliment? We all like to hear you look nice today, you did a great job, wow what an awesome painting. Do you find yourself making excuses or discounting your success because you felt like it would be egotistical to say, "hey! it is awesome isn’t it?"? There is a big difference between self-esteem and ego. When you can honor your abilities without concern for approval, that is self-worth. When you seek out attention without regard for others, it looks egotistical.
What does all this have to do with making art? Think about the self-chatter that goes through your head while you are creating. You begin with the best of intentions to create. Perhaps you are striving to paint a certain image but as you progress it isn’t looking the way you imagined. The gremlins escape and your critical self-talk takes over. I am not talking about the critiquing helpful voice that says, keep your colors vibrant by not over-mixing, or give the paint time to dry before applying the next layer. You know the voice I am talking about; this doesn’t look anything like the idea you have. "Your colors are horrible. Why are you wasting your supplies? This is going into the trash!".
Stop and listen. Yes, listen to what your negative voice is saying, then return with, "I hear you and you are not in charge now. I am in charge, and I am going to explore, experiment and play today". It is one thing to experiment when your attempts will never be seen by anyone, but I am talking about trying something new and being okay with the process. You carry knowledge from one experience to the next, but it is applied differently. What might have worked with computer programming is not going to help with acrylic gels and pastes. Yes, you are smart and talented, but you must first learn some of the qualities of the materials before you can master them. It will only benefit you to get a solid foundation.
Remember how I said computer programming wasn’t going to help? In some respects, it may. The way you have learned to think will help you explore new ground. For example, I have a background in research science. In university I designed experiments and wrote the technical papers. It is this step-by-step analytical thinking that has helped me to understand acrylic painting and write six books and many articles on how they work. Even with my experience I love to try some new combinations just to see what happens. This is my play and I learn more from my “messes” than I do by following the rules.
If you are curious and have the courage to experiment and share your results, then your art can progress quickly. If you are staying safe, well we know what the outcome will be because you have done this before.
In my course online Creative Soul Courses I take you by the hand and lead you to the edge. I am with you every step of the way and I provide all my years of experience to give you the tools to learn how to create your own gorgeous, unique set of wings so that you can fly. You can follow along with me step-by-step until you are ready to spread your wings and fly. Maybe you are already an experienced artist and are looking for fresh techniques. I share all my formulas and secrets with you and then you adapt them to your own style. We are always sharing, interacting and growing from each other’s experiences.
I invite you to be courageous. Learn to dance with your gremlins. Have the courage to play. Be bold and stand up for yourself. Tell your gremlin that you are exploring a new direction. Invite your gremlin on a play date and discover new worlds.
Discounted Early Registration for the upcoming South Session of the online Creative Soul Courses is open for a limited time (May 27 - May 30). Learn more about the 13-week curriculum, reviews, pricing and more in the FAQ.