New adventures sometimes sneak up on you. You think that you are just going to "do this one thing", and then you discover yourself going in new directions, questioning, mulling, and generally becoming caught up in a creative storm.
It started innocently enough, I decided to move my easel out into the living room so I would paint more-and be able to back up farther away to get perspective on my paintings. Then I remembered I had a large canvas in the closet awaiting decoration. So I took it out, set everything up, and then came back the next day and began painting.
Next, I remembered having a conversation with a friend about upcoming art shows and decided to inquire about them. Now I am busily painting for a show in two weeks, with another in July. See? This is how it goes. Art IS dangerous. It will sneak in and take over your life!
So now I'm having a barrage of voices in my head all fighting to give opinions and advice. I take a deep breath push them away, and just focus on color, on interesting swooshes, blends, and marks. I get ideas, follow them, change my mind, and start off in another direction.
The chorus struggles to speak-none of them are very helpful, except the voice that says, "Just make it for you, just let it unfold, forget that you have art to hang". Honestly-I don't know if these voices ever go away-you can get better at ignoring them however.
I have found that over time I've learned to trust that sooner or later, something will come through that I like. It is work. It is play. It is a process, a conversation, an experiment, an act of optimism to paint. Just like life, you have to lean into it and trust it to work even when you don't know how.
I don't know what will remain and what will be changed. But I want to assure others that they are not the only ones who must find their way through a barrage of voices.
Making art is a very brave act. Art is one of the those things everyone feels qualified to judge-and they don't hesitate to do so. I suggest that until you develop a thick skin, you don't show your work. Only show it to people who are supportive of your efforts. If your artwork is out in the room when someone comes over, it is okay to set boundaries, tell them "I'm in the middle of working and am not ready for comments". Even if someone likes it-that may pressure you to keep what they liked.
On the flip side, it is invaluable to participate in an art critique group where they know how to critique art. Fresh eyes, and other points of view can help you to see things you didn't notice, and help you to know what others see (which is diverse, based on their unique lives.) In the end however, you have to listen to yourself and paint as you like.
Be Brave, Make Art, Any Art, But Make it Your Art!