Keep Going

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This creative life is not for the faint of heart.  I mean, when I began this journey years ago, the anxiety I felt because I was not ‘properly art school trained’ sent me into a panic, especially in the classes I took that did not require drawing experience.  And no matter how many times I participated in spaces that gave me the freedom to just slap paint on paper in whatever way I wanted to, I still felt compelled to compare myself to everyone else in the class.  Eventually, I loosened up a little and just went with the flow.  The angst of working through the unknown of what I was trying to create never left me.

And I suspect you feel the same from time to time.  Or maybe every time you create.

I said this in a recent comment in one of my Facebook groups, and it bears repeating:

I use to resent early on when other artists would say keep, I honor them for doing that because they knew what I didn’t know at the time…when I met myself in all of the uncertainty and frustration on the page or canvas, the last thing I wanted to do was to keep going..but in doing so, I developed a love and respect for my own pace, and for my own budding aesthetic..they were dead ass right to tell me that because I would not be as far as I am without the push…

Back then, I was content with doing sketches and leaving them alone.  Didn’t want to screw them up with paint.  To keep going is not just about taking the risk to put paint to sketches, but to kick the resistance to messing it up in the ass so that you can take the next step.  Maybe it needs color, or perhaps just shading.  Or maybe it needs to be covered in gesso to give it a fresh start.  Whatever it is, I personally feel petrified and compelled to take the next step because that’s what this creative life requires of me.

And I take it, knowing the reality is that it’s just paper, marks, ink, paint, words and imperfect images.  And if I don’t regard every mark I make as precious, then I can rest in knowing that I can always choose to begin again or keep going with the thing I’m working on.  Maddening as it is at times, I can’t breathe without it.

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