We’ve all had times when our minds got out of control, telling us that our art is no good, or we’ll never be as good as so-and-so, or we’re incapable of getting past an obstacle.
You might think that a professional artist like me isn’t susceptible to that. I often receive comments to the effect of:
- “I wish I had just the talent you keep in your pinky finger!”
- “Is there a medium you can’t do well???”
- “I could never do that!”
But we ALL have those lies stalking us! Being a professional doesn’t automatically remove that.
Vlog: Remembering the time I believed ART LIES
While chatting, I’ve filmed a couple pyrography projects…this isn’t a tutorial, but just me giving you something fun to watch while I tell stories! AND it’s evidence that just because I’ve told myself before that I couldn’t do something – I can do it. And if I can, you can!
Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!
I believed for many years – decades, even – that I was a coloreed pencil artist, period. That was my medium. That was what I did, and what I’ll ever do.
It stopped me from trying new things. Even asking questions about new things. It stopped me from growing. In fact, I was doing so little personal art in that time period, and it likely stopped me from even getting back to working in colored pencil!
Your lie might be different.
But rest assured: it’s a lie.
Why lies work
Some people’s egos don’t let negative thoughts get them down – but I would guess there are MORE of us without that superhero ability!
Most of us are taught by our families to be humble. Don’t think too highliy of yourself, don’t put yourself above others. Without getting preachy here – even the Bible speaks to us on the subject, but it has a caveat included:
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3 NIV
Conquering the lies
I have a few suggestions to get past the lies, but remember that the first step in overcoming them is to understand and internalize that they are LIES. If you refuse to recognize that a lot of what’s running around in your head isn’t true, not much of this advice will work.
Change your language
Instead of “I’m terrible at this,” try “I’m at the beginning of this journey and am excited for progress!”
Instead of “I’ll never learn this,” say “This is a tough challenge, but I’ve done other hard things, and this is no different.”
Instead of “I’ll never be as good as ___,” tell yourself “I really admire ___ and am growing as I study their work.”
And when speaking to other artists, watch for words that you may use as compliments to them that bounce back as criticism of yourself! Telling someone “You don’t do anything badly” your mind may well be hearing the rest of the sentence: “….like I do!” It’s great to admire others, but be aware when your comments may have implications upon yourself.
Watch your words. 🥰 Speak kindly about yourself this week!
Adjust your expectations
Prove the lie wrong
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. —Vincent Van Gogh