Perfectionism & Pressure…Wrapped up in Imposter Syndrome…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘Just because you feel lost

doesn’t mean that you are.

Sometimes you just have to relax,

breathe deep,

and trust the path you’re on,’

Lalah Delia

Last week was spent in Cornwall – not the ideal planning, sandwiched between Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis…but such is life. The hoped for periods of sitting sketching didn’t really materialise…but I took photos, looked, consigned colours, shapes and textures, plus the wildness of the coast – and the weather – to memory, anticipating that, on my return home, I would develop my ideas…

I have applied for an event in May; I already have a confirmed event in July, and I was foreseeing this ‘new work’ as forming a new collection… I began with such good intentions…choosing a colour palette…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…making tentative studies…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…even trying working on a larger scale…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and that’s when my perfectionist tendencies kicked in, the old ‘Imposter Syndrome’…to be honest, this feeling has been with me since the beginning of the year… I feel as if I have been doing lots of doodles, experimentation say…(when does ‘experimenting’ become another word for ‘procrastination’…?) but not settling to any one thing, not really producing any ‘finished’ pieces… I was hoping that the trip to Cornwall would provide a focus – which it has…but I now have all these imagined works in my head…that don’t appear on the paper…and so the vicious circle begins…

I know this is common to many artists and lots has been written; I have read numerous blogs, articles and listened to podcasts all designed to help with the psychology of the issue… So I keep showing up, trying not to have fixed ideas in my head, just see where the work takes me…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Using different materials i.e. soft pastels in an effort to shake things up…in the interests of openness, here’s my not very successful attempt….(see, there I go again…)

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Now, before you think this is just a total whinge-fest, I know that I am my own harshest critic, with such aspirations of perfectionism that, in reality, I will never achieve, so…..

Putting my watercolours and inks to one side, I decided to review all the doodles I have done over the past weeks and months…

Carlyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…and do you know…it turns out, there was quite a few works that I loved…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Some might only be small, possibly suitable for cards or the like…but then there are others…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

…that might just have to take a trip to a framers…

This reviewing and critiquing made me take another look at my efforts from today…and, even though initially I was feeling totally despondent about the work, there is one that, in my head at least, captures the wildness…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

(apologies, not the best photo…but surprise, surprise, it’s raining here again, so it’s lights, shadows….standing on a chair to get an overhead shot, wobbles…)

It may not be perfect, but it has given me an idea, something to work on…

This is all part and parcel of my artistic rhythms, ups and downs, fallow times, ‘harvest’ times…and I am attempting to learn to live with it, to understand it, and not give way to those feelings of doubts, that we all have, to the pressure we put on ourselves…

Looking at the pile of work I have pulled out serves to show that the adage ‘just keep showing up, doing the work’ does pay off…and tomorrow I will try again… I am already thinking of larger sheets of paper, pools of watercolour and bigger implements to apply it with…

And, as an aside, writing and re-reading this post, seeing how much work I potentially have, has made me feel much better, more positive…thank you!

(If you would like to see more works in progress, follow me on social media, or for more of my ramblings and insights follow my blog, or sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter where you will see further news, offers and maybe hitherto unseen videos…)

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

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