January 11, 2017

One Tweet Changed The Way I Looked At My Art

Objectivity in art is hard.

It’s something most artists struggle with, sometimes significantly, throughout their creative lives. Even once they’ve gotten to a point where they’re “good.”

I think about perception a lot, especially as I paint. This is in relation to how I perceive my work versus how others do.

My perception will always be different from anyone else’s because I have a different journey with my work. I walk with it, in joy and fear and frustration from the moment the idea is conceived until I put the last coat of varnish on it.

When I look at my art, I see the moments where I struggled or felt joy or really felt the magic when the painting came together. With the way I paint, that magic is almost literally a BOOM! At least in my head.

I used to look at my finished art and only see the flaws.

So many artists do this and it’s a shame.

As creators, we have the privilege and honour of bringing our ideas to life. Once they’re alive, done, it’s important to release our negative feelings about the pieces.

It’s unfair to the creative process and can actually slow down creative growth.

After all, why create anything when it brings constant pain and even blows to the ego?

Sure there’s always room for growth. Always. But by being so harsh in viewing work, we’re not doing the final job of allowing others to enjoy our art.

One of the things that changed my objectivity about my own work was watching people’s reactions to it.

My year of travelling to ComicCons changed me profoundly, both personally and professionally. This was the greatest gift I got from that.

When I finish my art, varnish and/or frame, I release myself from the outcome. My journey is done. It’s not my job to be hard on both it and myself. It’s not.

And you know what? The reactions I get from people who see my work reinforce that. My job is to create and let go.

I will never be objective about my art. It’s impossible. But I no longer go through the pain of “it’s not good enough” that most artists go through.

Having said all that, any of you who follow me on Twitter will know that last week I had a moment while painting where I convinced myself I’d forgotten how to paint.

The pieces weren’t coming together. It was taking too long. I had panicked a bit about the size of the audience for these pieces. And bam! I was a mess.

I have no idea why I tweeted about it but I’m glad I did.

My followers and fans quickly jumped up and sent me so many incredible messages and encouraging tweets.

The messages everyone sent me, you are not alone, helped me get through the moment and push the paintings to completion.

With these paintings, objectivity is going to be impossible. When I look at them, all I see is the moment when I lived the very message I was painting.

And that’s not a bad thing at all.

Did you know?

I talk about and support mental illness because it matters. When I was growing up, people were shunned and hidden away to suffer alone. We are so lucky now that there’s support and dialogue.

There are days when I struggle. The very act of creating art brings me back into alignment. I’m a nicer person when I’ve painted. And I feel most like me when I’ve painted.

I’m part of the best fandom in the world. The Supernatural fandom. When someone trips, there are ten other people there to help them stand again. It’s humbling, awe inspiring and I’m so grateful to be part of it.