Self-doubt and doing things

Huge subject…

I have wasted many years in not producing any art work, not even a sketch, because I thought it would be worthless. Not even tried…that is the sorrow-full bit. It would not have cost me anything.

I have hundreds of blank pages, loose (as in A4 copy paper, that you can buy from Tesco for £3 for hundreds of pages) and bound in proper sketchbooks. Good for ink, watercolours, acrylics, oils, you name it. I ‘ve got it. The same about crayons and pastels and brushes. Hundreds of them.

What has been missing all this time, is the DRIVE to do. To do anything arty.

I have lost time in browsing the internet, looking at art websites, other artists’ blogs, websites and videos and have got inspired and demotivated very quickly after looking, just like a rocket that ignites its engines and then loses the combustion bit in the stratosphere.

I have been immobilised by other people’s creations and productivity. It is good to blame others for our own shortcomings and procrastination. How easy it is to point the finger.

A few days ago I looked at dates on some of my drawings. 1996, 1997…ridiculous! That is a lifetime ago. Careless with my own gift.

If I think that I can never catch up with the ones that are ahead of me, I have to stop looking at their work and start doing my own work. Sit down, stand up, stand on one toe, lean sideways, but START. Log off, close the books, and do my own stuff.

Countless times I have said that it is no point in drawing and painting because I will never be as good as others. These days when information is permeating our lives even when we sleep, I can say it is a blessing and a curse for the creative people. My brain absorbs in a split second the work of another artist and if I was given a task to create an illustration with a bear in pyjamas, I would probably draw something similar to what I saw lat year on a website.. good chance.

Time to close those sites and the books and draw what is in my head. What did the great masters of a few centuries ago do? They did not google or go to reference books on Michelangelo. They were the Michelangelos of their time! They were the ones to just do that thing that gave them the reason to be alive, to do those things that they could not do without.
Drive comes from within. Time is the most precious thing we have.

I am off to my studio.



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3 Responses to Self-doubt and doing things

  1. Oh, my how I resonate with this! Dozens of empty sketchbooks, and myriad unused art supplies. I’d pick up some new tool or process, thinking it was the silver bullet that would make me draw or paint better. They never did. So the ones I actually used, I only used once. Things are changing, though! I have a sketchbook on my person at all times, and I am actually using it! I also made a pact with myself to limit the art blogs I follow to around 10… I can be obsessive, and it sucks what little self confidence that has accumulated right out of me, leaving a shell without a chance. I limit myself to blogs like Chris Oatley’s (where I found yours), ones that encourage and challenge me, not discourage. I commented on Chris’s blog with a link to a story that I wrote a while back… I think you might understand it all too well… I’d love your input!


    • Hi Seth

      First of all I have to apologise for not replying sooner. I have had big issues with Virgin Media, my cable provider, and internet gets cut off very frequently. A lot of work that I have done here has been lost in between moments like that.

      I knew you wrote to me, as I read your comment on my phone, but could not remember my logging in on wordpress to do so on the iphone; wordpress comes up automatically on the laptop. Aaah, technology is a foe sometimes..

      I am one person who always lives on the positive side. There is no reason not to. I wonder whether the flowers or the birds talk negative to themselves or their families…Do they get deppressed or anxious? How would ltheir lives be if they did? imagine a silent meadow or forest. Or all droppy flower heads over the fields… we can learn from them.

      I think we think to much and many times we thus do a de-service to ourselves.

      I shall read your story and come back with a reply tomorrow! I hope the interent stays on!

      • miraclemax88 says:

        Such a potent thought, Gabriela. I think that the birds sing for the pure joy of it! They don’t care if their song is as good as the next birds, they just sing. I can think of few sadder things than a bird with depression. Imagine what our world would be like if we all modeled them? An amazing thought. And not out of the realm of consideration, really! All we needs do is live joyfully ourselves, and others will not be able to help being affected by it! Thank you for the reminder… One I need to hear every day, I fear!

        What helps me sometimes is to close my eyes, and imagine a soft warm breeze in my face, to feel its gentle caress on my skin. I then bring all my worries up out of the deep places in my heart; I push them to the surface. I hold them there, letting the breeze draw them away, long gossemer threads of spider silk, drifting away on the breath of God. I don’t know if you are a woman of faith, or if you have heard of the concept of the still, small voice, but I think it a helpful excercise nonetheless!

        I look forward to following your progress, Gabriela. It is a great encouragement to know that someone else is in this selfsame boat with me!


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