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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

“I felt so insufficiently equipped, so unprepared, so weak, and at the same time it seemed to me that my reflections on art were correct.  I quarreled with all the world and with myself.”                                    Edgar Degas

Collage by FL artist Carolyn land

Earth Mother

Sometimes we don’t recognize our own worth or our talent.  There are probably many reasons for this. Three that come to mind are…

First: We let the outside world effect what we know and how we feel.  We didn’t win a prize.  We didn’t sell anything. The potential buyer didn’t call back. Nobody complimented what we did.  Therefore, we assume…it must not be good.  We must not allow those “creative saboteurs” to knock us down! Those things do not make our work bad. We need to stand in our power and remember: If we want others to believe in us, we must believe in ourselves first.  Enjoy the process, share it with others, and don’t worry about the outside world.

Second: It may be because we judge our work too hard. After we have invested time and emotional energy in a piece of work, we may be too close to the work to view it objectively; and give it that unbiased critique it sometimes needs. That is why it is good to step away, and put it away for a while, before we start judging it.  We need to remember that everything that goes on around us, is going to affect how we are feeling at that moment, and that is going to affect how we feel about what we have done. Our back hurts, our feet hurt, we’re tired, we need to be somewhere…we hate it!   The next day we get up feeling great, and it isn’t as bad as we thought the day before.

Third: Sometimes things just fall into place easily, so we feel it can’t be good!  If we were in the business field and that happened, we would say: “Easy day!  Everything just came together perfectly.”  We wouldn’t give it another thought.  But artists!  We question when something happens easily, and things just fall into place.  We even call this event  a “happy accident,” instead of saying: things fell into place nicely. Yes,”happy accidents” do happen, but we knew what to do with them!  Maybe it was more like the timing.  The paper was just the correct dampness, or we had just the right amount of pigment on the brush.  Why do we think it always has to be a struggle, or take hours and hours to produce a masterful piece of work? How many times have we over worked a piece of work, because we thought we can’t be done already?

If we are enjoying the process and it is brings us joy, we are doing this “art business” right.  Yes, we have goals and aspirations, but art is a finicky and hard business.  So, find joy in the act of creating. Don’t sell yourself short.

“I was discouraged about life, discouraged about people being blind, but I don’t think I had a day that I ever questioned creativity. There has never been a day like that.”    Louise Nevelson

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