Monday, March 23, 2009

. . . answered third question




Yesterday I tried to answer Leslie Miller's first question for artists. I'm skipping her second question because I have to think about it more. However, her third question is: "What gets in the way and frustrates you in your efforts to create?"


For me, the biggest obstacle to creating is my own inner critic, which is very harsh and unforgiving. It's that voice in my mind telling me I'm a fraud, that what I do is no good. It's the voice that discounts all compliments of my work, telling me that people are just being nice, or that they don't really know what they're talking about. It's the critic in me that parses every comment on my work, choosing to ignore all the good things and magnify all the bad. It's the critic in me that even takes the lack of comment as a personal slap in the face.


And the biggest step I have taken to overcome this inner critic is this blog. On this blog, I post everything: the good, the bad, the experiments, what I have learned and what I want to learn. Nothing terrible has happened as a result of this . . . no one has told me to stop posing as an artist. No one has taken away my paint and canvases and said, "You can't paint." So I soldier on, keep trying, keep learning, keep posting. I can't silence the inner critic, but I can try to put it into perspective.


I am fortunate to be at a point in my life where I really don't have many obligations or demands on my time from outside sources. Unlike many artists, I don't have children to care for, nor do I have a career or job other than making art. Sometimes fatigue is an obstacle to creating; sometimes there is just no inspiration, although I think that is a big excuse, because there is inspiration all around if I just choose to see it. Sometimes personal problems or other everyday concerns obscure my abililty to see artfully. And sometimes the mere fact that someone wants to sell my art is daunting. So instead of going with my instinct, I will take the easier route and just make something I think will sell, instead of something that I want to make, and that never, ever works out.


Studying all different kinds of art on the internet and in person has taught me that no matter what I create, some will love it and some will hate it and a lot of people won't care, and it doesn't really matter because I'm doing what I love.

8 comments:

Margaret Ryall said...

We are all more alike than different as artists. I could have written much of this post myself Mary. I think the testament to our creativity is that we continue to make work in the face of whatever we perceive our obstacles to be. Creating art for public consumption means really putting yourself out there for. That takes some getting use to.

Miki Willa said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to silence the inner critic voice, or turn it into a positive critique voice? I can trace my inner voice back to a relative during my childhood. I think I have finally come to terms with it most days. I agree that blogging helps. I guess the most important question is are you doing what you love and are you having fun? I enjoy seeing what you are doing.

Jeane said...

well said Mary - I for one am truly impressed with your art - and I think your road of making a living selling your work is a very difficult one - for some reason it always put the creativity meter in a little different place - I admire you for your approach and love reading your posts - I don't always leave a comment, but I'm here on a regular basis....

Jazz said...

It's the voice that discounts all compliments of my work, telling me that people are just being nice, or that they don't really know what they're talking about.

Me, I definitely don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to art. But I know what I like and I love your paintings.

I think what's important is that despite the voice you keep on painting. That your creativity can't be stifled so easily.

bridgette said...

Great post Mary. I feel like I could have written this entry myself.
I did a physical manifestation of my Inner Critic once as an exercise. It was actually kind of empowering! I even gave her a name. :) Hmmm, I wonder where I put her....

pascale said...

I should have told you in my last comment, that I really love your artwork, I regularly visit your blog and I certainly wouldn't if I didn't love what I see. When I wrote about "this guy on Youtube" I was just thinking about a specific technique, it wasn't a critique about anyone's work. Some people can be very nice, without "ulterior motive" (hope this is the right word, my English is not so good). I think, anything we do, when we create art, should be done for ourselves, because it's an inner need, and we would feel "incomplete" and unhappy if we wouldn't.

Mary Buek said...

So true, Margaret. That's why I love this blog and the artists out there. . . I know I'm not alone in feeling the way I do. Maybe I'm not totally crazy.

Thank you so much, Miki. I too can trace that inner critic to an innocent comment made in my childhood. Excellent example of words truly have an effect, and can hurt as much as sticks and stones.

Jeane: Thank you so much. I like your new picture, too. I'm so glad I found your blog. . . your energy just resonates.

Jazz, my friend, thank you, although I doubt that you don't know what you're talking about. You get it.

Bridgette: Very cool idea. I think I'll name my Sandra. A high school memory. It will feel great to silence her.

Pascale: I love the guy on YouTube. I wish I had the ability to paint like that. I did not take anything you said as a criticism and I'm glad you visit the blog.

Carol Wiebe said...

Mary, I keep telling people that I am NOT nice. I have great difficulty saying things I don't believe or mean, which is what nice often sounds like to me.

I love this painting. Period.