Do You Believe You Have No Artistic Ability?

Or worse, you thought you did until you compared yourself to someone else.

Trust me, I’ve been there. When I was in high school I had a good friend who could draw anything. I mean anything! I was definitely not at her level and was so embarrassed by my feeble attempts that I stopped drawing altogether.

Don’t let that happen to you. I’m going to share a process I go through every time I go to my studio to work. This step-by-step checklist throws me a life line every time I start going down that rabbit hole.

It’s going to help you do 3 things:

  • STOP you from saying that you are no good at art.

  • REMEMBER that art is NOT a competitive sport. You are doing it because you love it.

  • Help you FOCUS on the process, not the product. Cuz, friend, the journey is what it's all about.

Ready? Here come the pearls of hard won wisdom:

  1. Take a minute to gather yourself. Clear your mind of the to-do list. Leave the phone in the other room. Tell your creative self that the two of you will make some magic today. I know it may sound a bit woo-woo, but trust me, it helps.

  2. The only way you can judge your progress is by looking at what you’ve done before. In other words, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. It’s irrelevant. The only measuring stick of any value is how far you have come on your creative journey. I kept a lot of pieces from when I first started out. I look at them now and say: ‘Oh boy, what were you thinking?’ Your artistic journey is like a metal spring. It starts at one end (the bottom for our purposes) and spirals to the other end (the top). Remember that early stuff I said I kept? Well, I actually redid a couple of them to see just how much I’ve improved. And WOW! I was amazed and secretly beaming at the progress I made.

  3. Never point out what you think of as mistakes. If you don’t tell anyone, chances are they won’t even notice. If by chance they do, say you meant to do that (with an appropriate smirk). Or better yet, if you think you made a big boo-boo, repeat it -do it again so it looks purposeful. Part of growing as an artist is being about to take risks, to think creatively to solve a problem. Look at you practicing some of Kosta’s 16 Habits of the Mind. Here’s a link to a visual for you.

  4. I have this critic in my head that spews out all sorts of negative comments: You have no talent. Who are you to think you are an artist? What makes you think you can actually create anything? You don’t have time for this. Yada, yada, yada … Don’t buy into it. Politely acknowledge the comments and then tell that critic to go site in the corner and leave you alone for the next few hours. (You don’t have to say it out loud, we don’t want peeps thinking you’ve lost it.)

  5. Dive into your project! Picasso says: ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.’ Ever watch a little one paint or draw? Are they worried about whether it’s anatomically correct? Whether it makes sense? My daughter took a little video of my then 2 year old granddaughter painting. It’s absolutely precious. Z is totally absorbed in what she is doing, intently watching what happens when she puts paint to paper. Work on developing that wonder and awe. Check her out in this video.

6. Remind the critic to stay in the corner

7. Realize that nothing is perfect. I still have issues when evaluating my work. First of all, there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an illusion because we all have different definitions of perfect. Don’t believe me? Ask three different people what their idea of a perfect day would be.

8. Breathe. In and out, in an out. This is supposed to be fun.

Let’s make some wild, wonderful art together!