‘where do i start?’

What is the right way? Vilppu or Reilly method? Should I master perspective or anatomy? Should I learn x or y, do I have enough talent? Should I wait for the planets to align with each other? Those voices are your ego. There is no one right way to making art or a perfect place to start; its a series of interwoven paths, not a one way street.

Your ego doesn’t like uncertainty or change. Doesn’t like to stray off the beaten path. Gives you all the excuses and worst case scenarios at its disposal. Doesn’t like taking action until certain criteria are met. It is your worst critic and loudest when you’re ‘just not feeling it’ or uninspired. Or when you have ‘artist’s block’. As horrible as it sounds, it’s just trying to ‘protect’ you. It thinks making mistakes in art is a bad thing.

zorn

Master study in acrylic. Original by Anders Zorn

Trying to block it out or fight it is like running away from your shadow

Self affirmations don’t help in the long run because they only create a temporary shield of protection that eventually dissipates. So what do you do about it? Just listen to it, observe it and realize the pain is just an illusion. Be indifferent towards it. Don’t engage in a mental tug-o-war; it will lose its grip over you over time, if you just focus on what you’re doing in that moment.

 

“But you suck at drawing hands. That nose doesn’t look right. Do you have enough talent? People will laugh at this. I’m just not good enough. What should I have for dinner?”

So what? Make an acknowledgement to those thoughts and say ‘so what?’ You really don’t care what your mind has to say, and you don’t tie your self worth to your skills, you’ll continue making art anyway. If all you gave it was an indifferent ‘meh’ to what it was saying, you’d see it lose its power over you.

 

Your ego is trying to protect you because it hates failing. Failing is a good thing, it is a feedback mechanism that guides you in your learning

Realize its important as a teacher, and you will be unaffected by what your ego is saying. So fail proudly, and smirk at what your ego has to say and move on, rather than fight with it. Continual practice and repetition will give you confidence, which will improve you art. Overthinking will cause paralysis and stagnation, which will hinder you getting better.

 

There is no ‘right way’ or ‘perfect’ time. Just make a start now and follow through

Be in the moment. That just means taking slow, deliberate and small actions. Every step of the way, your ego will challenge you; from the moment you decide to create art, you picking up the pencil or brush, and especially the moment you’re faced with the white of the paper or canvas. And then it has a lot to say when finally you’ve drawn or completed something. Learn to observe it objectively. I say learn because it too takes time to develop turning down the volume control on you ego.

 

What are you putting off from doing right now? 

Do you need to working on your observational skills by sketching from life, or working on memorizing and learning anatomy? “There’s so much to learn!” That is your ego talking, trying to get you out of its least favourite thing, taking unabated action into its favourite pastime; procrastination.

 

It’s ok to ‘suck’ and make mistakes. It’s not ok to not create art because of fear of making mistakes

Challenge and rattle your ego everyday by working against the path of resistance. You will have a better workflow and become more creative and get work done. And don’t get hung up on that as an end goal to try to eliminate your ego completely. That is working paradoxically with the ego, because you’re trying to be in a better place that you aren’t.

Now get to making as many mistakes as you can.

3 comments

  1. Thank you for the very encouraging messages ! I was waiting 50 years for start my first acrylic painting 🙂 I did some drawing exercises last year, but never did any painting or drawing before. And finally started acrylic painting this summer. And I love it ! Doing a lot of mistakes, but I found that painting is so attractive.

    Liked by 1 person

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