I confess, I was doing it all wrong when I first started making art.
I was creating simply to make a particular outcome. I was comparing my art against others’, and feeling like what I made didn’t measure up. Or I would follow step-by-step results in order to make it look like the sample. And of course, if it didn’t, I would again feel like it wasn’t enough. And on a deeper level, like I wasn’t enough.
I hadn’t yet realized that being an artist is also:
- creating something that may be unknown to you in the beginning
- trying things in new ways and new combinations
- making “mistakes” and then because of them, discovering new ideas.
- allowing your art to look “bad,” imperfect or unfinished, simply because it is still in the process of becoming. AND BEING OKAY WITH THAT. (And with ourselves too.)
I was also forgetting that art is a PROCESS, not just an OUTCOME. It is meant to be journeyed through, not just obtained. It is meant to be an adventure. Like life.
And when I started to enjoy the process itself, I started making my best art. I began to let the mess of art guide me. The better I got at experimenting, the more I started to find my own style. Things that felt like “me” and things that didn’t.
Here are the questions I ask myself, that I still use to this day with my clients:
1) what do you like about it.
2) What do you not like about it.
3) If you were to do one more thing to it, what would it be?
4) How are you FEELING about it?
But here’s the question I learned that changed me for the rest of my life:
5) Listen to what your art has been telling you: What do you HEAR?
If I ask, “what do you think it means,” it seems way too logical and analytical to answer. But if I ask “what do you HEAR,” it becomes about what you are hearing your heart tell you. It bypasses the logical mind. There’s no right or wrong about it.
Your art might be telling you:
- “I’m a mess!”
- “My colors are so dark, and it makes me feel angry.”
- “I’m not sure what I’m doing or where I’m going.”
- “I am willing to change, to start over.”
- “Don’t give up on me!”
I learned to use the process of art to LISTEN because it has so much more to say to me than whether it looks good or not. Art is not meant to be judged, it’s meant to SPEAK!
And it speaks things we often cannot often express with our logical mind.
That’s what allows us to use it to connect to our heart. And to connect to our Creator.
And that’s the gift of creativity we all have inside us. If we stop to listen to it.