Confidence - we've all heard the lecture, read the book, and shared posts about it on social media. We've been inspired to greatness, been overwhelmed by frustration, and overcome by a sense of failure. WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH PAINTING? EVERYTHING!
While I've experienced many epiphany-like moments in my artistic journey, I believe the greatest impact any single experience has made to date came about two years ago. It came in the form of blatant, in your face, confrontational words that seemed to spew from my mentor's mouth (in a most loving way, of course) as he called me out on my lack of confidence. "You must paint confidently," he told me. Of course, I already knew this and, in my mind, I was. "No negative words, no negative thoughts, no negative responses...nothing that even resembles negative in any manner." While devastated that I wasn't the perfect student, the perfect pupil I had hoped to be, his words made an impression. I began to take note of not only what my words might be, but, what my thoughts were as I painted. What was actually going on inside my head? My painting changed!
Now, as I paint, I know the painting that results is going to be lovely. Is that me being conceded? No. I am just being confident. Is the painting going to be perfect? NO, absolutely not. Is it going to be what I am hoping for, maybe - maybe not; but, it will be better than the last one. It will be a step in my journey. I'm always working to try to change my brush, vary my look, grow as artist. Am I achieving that goal? Yes and no - I keep raising the bar. However, along the way, I will, at least, create some pretty paintings.
My point? Give confidence a try. As you approach anything to do with painting for the next week, month, or year, do so confidently! Don't allow yourself to be intimidated by anything or anyone. Surround yourself with only the positive. In classes or seminars, don't sit by the most negative people in the room, don't allow yourself to feel inadequate because you've never painted the new style being taught, don't allow yourself to be intimidated by other painters or even the teacher for that matter. Recognize that you, like everyone else, is on a journey. We are all on a path. We are all in a different place on that path. You got this! If you need help, ask. Don't ask in a timid, meek, "I can't do this," kind of way. Ask for specific guidance. Will yours be like the teacher's? Let's hope not. Be the best "you" you can be by adding techniques to your toolbox and working to develop your own style.
As many of my students and followers know, I'm booking more seminars, scheduling more travel teaching engagements, and conducting community workshops - building my business (confidently). I've been amused and disheartened by one word "intimidated." What? Painters are actually expressing a sense of intimidation by my work, my style, the casualness of my brush. And, the thought of booking or attending a seminar to learn my style is "scary." Crazy! My response - I can teach you! How do I know this? I am confident in my abilities as an artist and as a teacher. Of course, in this equation, I must assume that my students will be confident as well. They must be confident they can learn. Learning is a process. All processes take time. Success, though, is simple - it takes CONFIDENCE!
Enjoy the journey!