Here is a quote from Seth Godin I read recently. It is about writing but it applies to any kind of creative work:
“People with writer’s block don’t have a problem typing. They have a problem living with bad writing, imperfect writing, writing that might expose something that they fear.”
I certainly agree that artists fear discovering that they aren’t as good as they want to be. When that Inner critic sticks its ugly head out, we often decide to let go of the project in a way of protecting ourselves from disappointment.
After all, by postponing the beginning of a project, we can’t fail. Some artists are more comfortable saying they are blocked, too stressed out or too busy to paint or write.
It is easy to find reasons to postpone our art, there are always other things to do, even during this pandemic, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, making dinner, reading to find inspiration, exercising etc. , all valid reasons to be sure, but still excuses.
Of course I am not talking here about times when we have to devote ourselves to care for someone else and when this caring takes all of our time.
But other than that, we all have to make choices in life. If we want to create, we have to choose to create. And before creating, we have to practice and be open to learning new techniques, new points of view. We have to explore new ideas without the pressure of a finished masterpiece at the end.
Artists that create masterpieces have started like you, practicing, studying, dedicating hours upon hours to their craft. It is too bad that when we go to a museum, we usually only see the masterpiece, the end product, not the sketches, thumbnails, torn papers and ruined canvases that are part of the process. The only way to move forward is to fail and learn from this failure. This also goes for everything worthy in life.
If you are thinking you’ll do it later, when you retire, or the kids are gone from the house or you can stop work, realise that no future event will give you permission to create, you have to give yourself permission. Committing to 30 minutes to one hour per day is a great start for any creative project. You would be surprised how it adds up!
I am often asked how I find time to do it all. First, I don’t do it all and second, it is simple, I make time for my art, I choose to do this instead of something else, and seriously, I don’t do it all. I enjoy simple meals that don’t take 2 hours to prepare, I don’t exercise everyday and I skip some weeks on the dusting and vacuum. It all eventually gets done.
That 30 minutes or one hour may seem frustrating when you are working on a large project but you know what? You move forward and it stays on top of your mind. That is the beauty of it, the creative juices that keep on flowing; the progress can be small but constant.
I first wrote about this particular project in 2017 so have been working on this on and off for three years now. At the time, I started two paintings of similar size but from different points of view. I still have not finished the other one but I am so thrilled to have finished this one!
To find out more about this historic UNESCO protected town, follow this link: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/550/
Take care everyone and Stay safe!
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