I tend to overthink things. I’ve become a lot better at that as I’ve gotten older. I don’t really obsessively think about things like I use to. Like worrying about my health, or fretting over doing my taxes, or speaking in front of a crowd. That stuff doesn’t really bother me anymore.
Lately I’ve been obsessively thinking about art. I felt like Ive been stuck in a certain style the last few years and I wanted to break out of it. So I started looking at other people’s work a lot, and how they approach things, and what their style was like. I started thinking about how I was going to change out of my style and find a new path. I started doing sketchbooks, and looking at a lot of reference material, and trying different brush strokes.
I was sitting at the easel this morning, looking at some of my new paintings and new sketches. I’m quite happy with some of my new series, like my Growing Heart series. That series is more for me than anything, so my standards for it are only that I like each piece that I make. Nothing more than that. I’ve been enjoying doing new work in oil, and I like the depth I’m getting out of it.
I walked out into my mini gallery hallway, that is right before my studio space. I looked at some of my old paintings that I have hanging. Some of them are my favorite paintings I’ve done, and they really make me happy. At that moment I kind of snapped out of the obsessive thinking over my artwork.
Sometimes you have to just accept yourself as an artist. I have very high standards for myself, and I don’t really give myself a lot of “self praise.” I always see things that I can improve on. I feel like that is a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because it makes me practice a lot, but bad because it makes me frustrated with what I love doing. Sometimes you just have to say, yeah that’s pretty awesome and not look for areas to work on. I tell everyone else to do that, but I’m a bit hypocritical and don’t really do that for myself. I’m always telling myself to keep working hard to get better at what I’m doing. It has been awhile since I had a day where I just said “I’m in a good place as an artist.”
I finally felt that today. I’m not really sure why, but I just decided that I will always improve and develop. I don’t have to rush anything. I don’t have to be a certain thing in a year. I decided that its too easy to not be satisfied. Even if I was the top selling artist in the world, I’d still find things that I need to improve on. I can just be what I am right now and be satisfied, but still motivated. It’s hard for me to do that. I usually have to be unsatisfied to be motivated. With that in mind I think I’ll be able to get back to practicing without the obsessive attention to it. Good, rewarding practice is what I’m looking for, not “I have to do it or else” practice. I think I found it.
Now back to being an artist.