Every artist was first an amateur.Ralph Waldo Emerson
I think this is such an important quote for all artists whether they are a painter, a photographer, a writer, a sculptor, etc. We all think, from time to time, that we are not a “good enough” artist because we compare ourselves to the masters in our chosen mediums.
However, it is important not to let this insecurity get in the way of the creative process or our peace of mind. Even famous people are insecure from time to time. Mike Myers said, “I still believe that at any time the no-talent police will come and arrest me.” If we wait to be perfect at something, we will never start.
It is also easy to let these insecurities stop you from stretching yourself. Writer, C. Joybell C. said, “You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”
It is this idea that pushes me forward. I started with baby steps – places where I felt I could be brave enough to try. As I gained confidence, I would push myself to try something else that was just a little scarier.
My first baby step was to move away from the negative idea that I am a “self-taught” artist and that I have not attended an art school. I was a stay at home Mom for the most part and did not start painting until my daughters were grown and moved away. At first I didn’t know what I wanted to paint or even how to start. So I decided to start at the local art galleries in Ottawa and studied various artists’ work to get an idea of the different genres that I might like to try. Next, I tried to recreate the colours I saw and tried my hand at mixing colours.
As I began to feel more comfortable with each of these projects, I would push myself to try something new and a little more challenging. Then one day I read a quote that said “Live the life you imagine.” I tried to imagine the life of an artist and I decided there and then that I was going to ‘act as if’ I was an artist and not let fear hold me back.
I have moved from someone who put some paint on a canvas to someone who has shown her work in local galleries and who now, along with her husband, has a website. I do not know what the future has in store for me but I am willing to give it a whirl and see what happens because I love being creative and I am loving the adventure. I may or may not become a famous painter or photographer one day but I am willing to try.
I am not saying that I do not experience moments of insecurity about my work because I do. I am no different than any other artist in that regard. But, I am learning to find the courage to push myself just a little bit further each time so that I can move forward and see where it takes me.
My wish for you is that you will also be able to “feel the fear and do it anyway” because “Every artist was first an amateur”.
For an interesting take on artist insecurity check out the Youtube video by Elizabeth Gilbert entitled “Your Elusive Creative Genius”. Elizabeth is the successful author of “Eat, Pray, Love.”
What a motivational and inspiring piece. It is true that we all have insecurities about our abilities to accomplish the things we dream about. It helps to remember that even those who we view as professional and accomplished still share those same feelings, are still just as human as we are and started from where we find ourselves now. No one is born a professional, it takes hard work, learning from and moving past mistakes (which will happen to everyone), and pushing yourself to continue, to challenge yourself and keep learning something new. Thank you for reminding us of that.
Thank you for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the article.