Just the other day as I was working through my childhood creative wounds.
I have come to realized the source of my frustration and dissatisfaction with my artwork.
The reason for this statement:
“It’s just not good enough.”
At a very young age, I had assumed expectations and responsibilities to be good at, well, EVERYTHING.
Cooking, cleaning, communications, etc.
But these expectations extended well beyond the chores and obligations my parents had for me at home.
I’m expected be an incredibly MASTERFUL artist.
My art teachers thought I was good. My retired artist dad thought I was good.
So I thought I HAD to be good.
Or else, I am a failure.
Having turned 27, I HAVE to have the skills of a 27-year-old master artist.
But I’m not “there yet,” however, whatever is expected of a 27-year-old artist to be at this point.
I’ve looked inside myself and discovered that my inner creative child really is only 12 years old, accompanied with an artistic skill set obtained when I was at that age, give a few more I have obtained as an adult in my college and professional years.
Why 12 years old?
I’m not sure, but I assume that is is because I was heavily encouraged NOT to indulge in any artistic activity at that time.
Hence my inner artist’s confidence and skills are frozen at age 12.
What kills me is that I have been expecting her to perform at mastery level at MY current age of 27.
Expecting a 12-year-old to perform at the age of 27?
Goodness. It’s no wonder I have been so frustrated and heartbroken every time I’ve tried to create something new this year.
“I’m supposed to be as good as my age right now. As an adult. Why can’t I get these drawings done and created right away like the way they should be at my age?”
Realizing the burden and stress I’ve caused my inner artist, I’ve slowly released these standards from her and now meet her at HER level.
“Hello inner artist,
You are a 12-year-old artist in a 27-year-old body.”
It’s actually a very humbling experience to meet my inner creative child as she is, with skills and experiences that are unique to her.
Now that I recognize her limitations and capacities as an artist, I can better gauge and assign her projects that are more suitable to her capabilities and challenge her in ways that I know she can handle and have fun with!
I’ve push her way too hard to meet certain expectations and goals when I haven’t allowed nor assisted her in developing those skills to meet them.
Hence the constant push and pause in my creative process and flow.
She pushes to create. Then pauses to get the rest she needs.
And it’s usually in this pause that my adult professional side comes out and attacks her for being lazy and incapable of meeting adult responsibilities and deadlines.
It’s like expecting a person to run 10 miles their first time when they haven’t built up the muscles and stamina to run 1 mile yet.
It’s not humanly possible.
And we are human beings.
So be kind to yourself.
Go inside and find your inner creative child.
Find her and see where she is currently, in skill, experience and capacity. See her for who she truly is right now.
Has she experienced enough, seen enough, practiced enough to create that project you want her to make right now?
If not, back track a little. Find something that would suit her level first. And slowly increase the level of difficulty suitable to her capabilities and needs.
(It’s like a video game. Select the level suitable to your current skills. Select too high and you may just want to throw your game out the window.)
It was hard for me to accept my limitations as an artist. And as a human being.
I’ve believed for so long that as long as I put my heart, mind, and soul into it, I am capable of anything.
I still believe this.
But in order to be that person I wish to be, I have to recognize and accept who I am now.
By meeting myself as I am, I can better gauge what I can or can not do in this moment, work on improving skills I know I would love to have suitable to my current capacities, and feel more at peace and joyful with my progression as an artist.
I’m still internally a young artist working towards being a “professional adult” after all.
How about you?
P.S. A gentle reminder that today was set to be the last day to register for my artist alley course, Artist Alley for Beginners. Because I’ve been sending reminders later in the day, I will extend the course registration date to Monday, October 8th, 2018 at 10:00 PM, so those who receive this later will have a chance to sign up.
Please note that I currently do not know if I will open this course again. Thus, if you’d appreciate organized and guided assistance for your artist alley journey from me and the 3-year experience I have as a convention artist, this will be the last known time for which I will have this course open.
Thank you again to all who have signed up so far! Your purchase not only assists you on your journey, but it allows me to pay to take care of myself as I have been precariously recovering creatively since the beginning of this year.
You can read more about it here.
From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank you for your support.