build creative confidence

Are you keeping your art a secret?

Day 24 of Build Creative Confidence

I love this quote by Andy Warhol, especially the line that says, “let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad…” We have to keep making art, regardless of the opinions and judgements of others. Yet the fear of judgement often stops us from ever getting started.  Are you keeping your creative urges a secret, from yourself or others? Are you dabbling in new art forms but terrified to share them with anyone?

I remember reading somewhere that art is not ART unless it is shared with others. That’s an interesting definition that we can debate at a later date. For today, let’s accept that this is true – that to be an artist, someone has to witness what you create – look at it, enjoy it, hate it… we have absolutely no control over anyone else’s opinions, perspectives or experiences. Like Warhol also said (and I paraphrase) we will all have our 15 minutes of fame, if we are willing to step into the limelight.

Are you keeping your art a secret?

I did for a LONG time. It was the only way that I could create, in secret, without fear of judgement or criticism. Then slowly but surely, I started to share bits and pieces with other people – friends I felt confident would like what I was doing or my husband, who is always supportive.

Most summers we make the long trek to Nova Scotia to spend time at my husband’s family cottages on the coast. We are headed there later this week and I can’t wait. Over the years, I have had a bevy of children and a stream of adults gather around me as I sit at the picnic table and doodle, draw, write in my journal, etc…

Having kids around is always a boon to our creative spirits, they are always impressed with what adults are making or doing and it soothed my withered spirit to be admired by these fresh young faces. From there, my creative confidence grew and I felt safer sharing with adults or posting my art on my Facebook page or here on my blog. But this process took a couple of years.

I am not sure if it was my own inner critic, memories of a couple of awful art teachers or the criticisms of my own mother that made me keep my art a secret. All three contributed to my fear of being judged, the fear of being told I couldn’t draw or how I could always do something better, it was never good enough as it was… does this feel familiar to you?

I tell you this story so you will see that there is hope for the closet creative drawing in the dark or singing in the shower. I wouldn’t say that I am always comfortable sharing what I make and I still choose which pieces to share. It’s okay to keep your art a secret for a while, but at some point you have to put yourself out into the world and open yourself up for feedback and yes, criticism, too.

Earlier I mentioned that we can’t control other people’s opinions but there are two things we can control. First, we can choose carefully who we share our precious works of art with and second, we can control how we respond to other people’s opinions. Remember, opinions are not truth! They are simply the reaction of someone based on their experience, information and interests.

I love what Warhol says about go ahead and share you art, let other people worry about it and you just keep making art. I know I have mentioned in other posts in this series on building creative confidence how important it is to enjoy the process and let go of our attachment to the outcome. Not all of our art will please us or anyone else. We have to keep making art in order to nurture our creative spirit and continue to get better!

Lesson for Day 24 – Share you art!

Your lesson for Day 24 of Build Your Creative Confidence is to share you art. (If you have been reading this series, and you are not making art, start now! Go back to lesson one.)

Be very selective in who you share it with. Our fragile creative spirit needs to be nurtured and supported. We need fans not naysayers as our budding artist grows in strength.

Feeling very brave? Share it on my Facebook fan page here and tell us what you love about it!

When you do receive feedback or suggestions for improvement, take them with a grain of salt. Don’t be offended, just acknowledge the feedback and move on. If the feedback is all positive, also accept that graciously and move on. Don’t second guess or try to change someone’s mind, just take it in and decide if it has any value and then get back to making art again!

 

So, are you keeping your art a secret? Share your stories in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

Image credit: ericbvd / 123RF Stock Photo