I feel drawn to the river. It’s gentle meanderings, constant flow, cycles of life in and at the water’s edge somehow anchor me, reminding me that life carries on regardless of what else is happening…….or not….
This last week I have felt strangely discombobulated, lost…I have been trying to square the fact that this 8 second video, quickly captured on my iPad…
or any interest in my ‘Songs of Norfolk’ watercolour and ink series based on the north Norfolk coast.
Now, I fully understand I only have a small social media following and an even smaller mailing list, so I can’t keep expecting sales from a limited audience…. I know I need to build on and develop ‘getting my work out there’/outlets/social media/internet/website traffic…but, in my current ‘low’ mood, I feel as if I have been plugging away and getting nowhere…even allowing for this being a slow burn… And so, I begin to question myself, doubt that I am ‘good enough’, wondering why I am bothering….self-doubt, imposter syndrome….questions and feelings that I am sure a lot of artists can empathise with…and even though I normally have quite a positive outlook, I begin to feel overwhelmed….
I try to paint, but with no clear direction just end up with a bigger pile of collage material…So I decided to take a week out, put my brushes etc. to one side and think, reflect….
Do I need sales to validate me…? Does having no sales mean my work is rubbish, isn’t ‘good enough’ – although who determines what is good enough? And if I don’t have confidence and faith in my work why should I expect others to? I have to admit here that the thought of paddling my canoe off down the river, drifting away, was very appealing…..however, I don’t possess a canoe….
So, after my week of reflection do I have all the answers….errrr….heck no!! What has become apparent though is that although I haven’t used my paintbrushes, pencils etc. this week I have enjoyed creating these short videos, taking photos and writing/journalling….which has led me to conclude that being creative is part of who I am, that I would have to have some sort of creative outlet no matter what, in some form or other….and I have to admit here that, having had a week away from painting, I am itching to pick up my art materials and make marks….
I feel my work is developing and I am becoming more discerning; producing more pieces that fulfil my intentions, that I have faith in. Does that mean I am more confident…in a word…no… I am still amazed when people wish to purchase my work, flabbergasted that they would consider hanging my painting in their homes…but I think I have to accept my diffidence; I don’t think that, at my age, my nature is going to miraculously alter…
I know, I know, I imagine you all shouting ‘Stop overthinking, just get on with it, just do it, keep on going…it will come…’ With my logical head on I hear you, I acknowledge this is all part and parcel of the highs and lows of the artistic life; having watched some TED talks and listened to podcasts, it is apparent that most artists, even established ones, have these doubts…
….and yes, I am aware that this post is in danger of becoming a bit of a wallowing ramble (it has taken me three days to write and I have deleted quite a lot….)…just to reassure, normal service will no doubt resume shortly…I have applied to two Art Trails (pushing me again out of my comfort zone) and am in the process of applying to another…I will continue to make work, post on social media, keep plugging away…slowly growing my audience….remembering all the while that Rome wasn’t built in a day….
‘Reflection is a gift for your spirit. It nourishes your creative energies, by allowing deeper parts of who you are to come forth and be discovered. And as you embrace these discoveries about yourself, you become more fully aware of who you are and what your purpose is at this point along your journey recognising that your life is a wonder, and that you are connected to something greater than yourself which allows your spirit to blossom.’ Belle Bleue