Pretending to be a painter
When I hear a negative voice in my head saying, “I am in over my head, they are going to find out,” this little voice reminds me I am not good enough. It seeks to devalue myself worth causing me to underestimate myself. Then I come to the conclusion that l must be mad about choosing to be an artist. I realise that l have volunteered myself for all this self-doubt. I feel like l am pretending to be a painter.
If l am not careful the voice gets out of control and my self-confidence is eroded. It is hard to break the psychological patterning in which I fear l will be exposed as a fraud. The term ‘imposter syndrome’ describes the situation well.
Like a lot of artists when I started on this journey I asked myself, How do you make good art? I realise anyone can call themselves an artist. However, there is a problem with this question. It sends you in the wrong direction. It leads to you questioning everything you make.
Pretending to be a painter – related links
Then I had the idea. ‘What if I practised failure instead?’ What if I focus on my weaknesses? If l remove the need for quality and perfection maybe it would help. I realised l needed to give myself permission to make mistakes and remove expectations.
The strive for quality and perfection causes so many paralysing difficulties. Malcolm Gladwell said in David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants; “You can’t concentrate on doing anything if you are thinking, ‘What’s gonna happen if it doesn’t go right?”
I slowly realised that the reward in painting doesn’t come from making a perfect painting. It is in the daily practice of getting your work done. When I am practising failure I don’t have to know what I am going to do. Ideas often develop from a previous painting. The trick is just to get started and get something made.
Stuart Bush Studio Notes; Pretending to be a painter
“There is a key to success in every failure” – Tony Robbins.
“What others may call a failure is only a temporary set back if you really believe in your dreams” – Kory Livingstone.
“Are you are paralysed with fear? That’s s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art.
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"I am delighted when I have a paintbrush in my hand, making something I have never seen before"