The past few months has been a learning curve for me. There have been challenges in the technical side of things setting up my new online art workshop, considering the diverse needs and goals of fellow artists as well as my personal development as an artist. The challenge has not been the lack of time, although I have had to manage that issue carefully. As far as getting the work done I tend to just put one foot in front of the other. Doggedness has always made up for other shortcomings. The real challenge has rather been about managing doubt.
Author Seth Godin suggests that the watchword of a sane artist is: "Shun the nonbelievers". That is important. Artists need to focus on their work and have faith in themselves when others do not. I have spoken before about the risk of art. The risk of putting your work out there for possible rejection or even worse, indifference. But it is important to remember that no one asks for your art. This does not mean your art is not required. You give it and share it, because that is your path. Once your art is released your calling demands that more art be produced.
Vincent Van Gogh faced the non-believers. Sadly in his day there was little sympathy for artists trying something new - artists who tried to make things happen. Has anything changed? Yes there has been a massive change, but we need to take advantage. The opportunities and tools to create and publish have been opened to all of us. The challenge now is to face the doubts, look within and do the work.
What about self doubt? Many people say that they wished that they had time for their art, or that they are not good enough or feel frustrated because they just cannot get motivated to start after a break from art. All of these reasons put forward point to self doubt. It is difficult to respond to these excuses. Encouragement is met with a smile at best. As weak as these excuses may sound to some they are significant obstacles to the artist herself, because they point to a massive hurdle. The same hurdle faces people trying to break a bad habit. It is tough to take the first steps then even tougher to make it a part of your life. In the back of the mind is the fear of giving up and facing the truth. You just did not have the fire to see it through. Self doubt does that to you.
I faced plenty of self doubt about an online art workshop. Before that I had doubted other things too, but the doubts were unfounded once the work was done and published. I had reached the top of a hill and could look over the valley, admire the view and get ready for the next hill. Yes more doubts will crop up, but they become milestones if you look at them differently. Proof of progress in a journey. One foot in front of the other.
So my appeal to artists is to face the doubts, walk past them and never look back. Ignore the nonbelievers and shun the negative news that cloaks our world in apathy and fear. Instead take charge of your own world where you can make a difference. Take up your art, create and do so again and again. We need more art ... your art ... and please start today.
The artist who can make something happen is you.
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