Making Time for Creativity--Growing Gills work through
@aska You are welcome to read and join in the discussion! Don't worry about being late, it would be good for all of us to be reminded of the earlier exercises so go ahead and post whatever chapter you are in.
I'm not sure I understood this chapter. Admittedly I am brain dead from a difficult week at work but I don't see the connection between having all of these "shoulds" going on in your head and procrastination. I get that sometimes we are procrastinating about things we feel like we should do but really don't want to do, in which case seeing that we don't need to do them would help but most of the things I procrastinate about are things I really do need to do. Is she saying that procrastination may be a sign that we need to look at the thing we are avoiding and figure out if it is something that we are only doing because we feel we should?
@demotlj I think that’s part of it. I think many of us, consciously or unconsciously, have many ideas of things we “should” be doing. We may not ever realize that many of these unspoken expectations actually contradict each other—so no matter what we do, we feel as if we have failed, because by meeting one expectation we neglected another.
Putting them on paper where you can see them and address them helps you see the contradictions and make conscious, deliberate choices of the expectations you will and won’t accept, and by extension the guilt you will or won’t feel over whether you meet those expectations.
At least, that is my understanding .
So this week's homework was easy.
Who are the only people whose opinions REALLY matter to me?
In that order.
Which gives me some insight into part of why its hard for me to get comments from my husband on my art... I really do care what he thinks! And I'm not sure he appreciates that. There are of course a whole lot of other things going on in that as well, but thats part of it.
My should list didn't get done yet, but it should have. I'll catch up soon. Been prioritizing getting a small business running so I can support my art habit.
My list is also quite short and has my three kids and their significant others, and a good friend who is my primary support. Making the list, however, pointed out to me one of the issues I feel: I really identify with the beginning of the chapter in which she talks about the fear of being a poser, because I feel that a lot and yet, when she suggests that we focus only on the people whose opinion matters, the good friend on my list is very artistic so she is often the one around whom I feel like a poser.
I do know, however, that my value to the people on that list, including that friend, doesn’t change whether I can draw or not, and it is also true that it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter to me if people not on the list think I am a lousy artist. The imposter syndrome is really a huge issue in so many areas of life because we live in such a credentialed world. I can call myself an artist if it is my profession, or if I have degree, but if neither of those are true, how do I know when I can legitimately go from saying, “I do art,” to “I am an artist?” Same with “I play music” versus “I am a musician.”
I also have to admit that the reason I worry about it is my own occasional judgmental thoughts about other people who claim identities that I’m not sure they are qualified to claim (like divas who can’t carry a tune.) But I should keep in mind that I am not on their 1 inch square list so my opinion doesn’t matter!
@ThisKateCreates catch up as you can, you do you :-).
@demotlj Thats a good point about not being on other people's one inch squares... thats a good way to let judgemental thoughts go. I wish there was an easy way past impostor syndrome. Art is tricky, because it really DOESN'T require a degree or credentials, but so much in the world does that it's hard to place it. If the people on your one inch square call you an artist though, that goes a long way.
I'm really struggling with these exercises because they seem to be going further and further afield of my own value system. The should monster I get and I did write a should list, just misplaced it, but I can't actually reduce whose opinions I care about to a square inch. Because when I make a picture and share it my goal is to bring beauty into peoples lives so the opinions of the people who interact with it matter. I just feel like this exercise is too focused on individualism and supports thinking about my actions not from a "this is how i fit into society" but a "this is how I see myself perspective."
I guess I'm continuing to be my ornery self and saying the opinions I care about are my friends and family in the general case, the people I am alleging to help when I do tech outreach and education, myself when making a picture or piece of music (only myself), every viewer of a picture to the extent of whether it enriched and beautified their life or the opposite when I put it out into the world, potential customers if I'm selling a piece of art or a product, etc for other activities that are irrelevant to this art discussion. But I'm connected to the whole world, so while they don't get to decide what I do they are on my square inch in a sense.
I've definitely struggled over the years with imposter syndrome though. I just feel like suspending judgement while I work and then asking myself how it could be better when it's done is more effective for me. I don't know what constitutes an artist and I definitely struggle to give myself time to create when it isn't the most profitable way I can spend my time. But I want to make pictures that are closer to the images I dream about and painting is good for my soul. So I think doing that every day is a choice that improves my life. And I hope it can bring some joy to others.
It's hard for me to see my art as worth existing or a good use of my time. And honestly, most of the people close to me don't really care about the art I create. They may be happy I do so and some think it's impressive I can make an image that looks like a thing, but they don't look at my pictures and my small audience is mostly slowly accumulated people I don't know.
Lastly it's interesting that other fields are mentioned as more requiring a degree or credentials, but most of my imposter syndrome centers around engineering (and lately chemistry). There's been a lot of "but I only have a physics degree" but in the end I can do the work so I just keep doing it the same as art. Except probably I tech better than I draw. LOL
@ThisKateCreates I see what you're saying, and I do think that this exercise can be difficult. If it doesn't resonate with you, you can just skip it. I think you're taking it in a different way than I did and that is where your difficulty is coming from--which is totally fine. As I said, if you feel the book as a whole is helpful to you but this exercise is just not feeling right, skip it. Or if the book and exercises aren't helping you at all, no need to continue--what would be the point?
To me, this chapter isn't saying that you shouldn't care about anyone else in the world or what they think, about anything, ever. As people who want to create art professionally, making art that people like and respond to is essential. To me, it's about getting really clear about who I need to stay aligned with, both in the work I make but also how I make it and present it. I can't let my art and professional goals eclipse my relationships with those people. I think of the Aesops fable about the man, his son and the donkey who change what they do every time a passerby tells them that what they're doing is wrong, and end up pleasing nobody at all. THAT, to me, is the point. Please your small list of people with the choices you make surrounding your art practice. Some will like and respond to what you make, others won't. But when you're clear on the short list of people its important to please, you won't be chasing after every differing opinion.
Come to think of it, this is important on a personal level for your time and space management, but its important on a business level as well. You need to identify a very specific "target market" to appeal to, and not worry about pleasing people who don't fit that category.
Anyway... I'm sorry you're feeling frustrated here, and as I said, skip it if you feel like it doesn't help you.
@Sarah-LuAnn I'm probably overly critical..... Which might relate back to the topic of not being overly critical of your work and not doing anything.
Hi all, I've been on holiday reading most of the book but not really doing the excersizes. Which chapter are you guys on?
As for the list of important people, I have a real dillema here. My most important person is my partner. While he does support me in my art, he's not impressed with the turn I hope it's taking. I've been doing realistic pencil drawings for a few years, but I'm learning digital art now and a more illustrative/imaginary style (I hope....). It's basically the new style I'm trying to learn that he doesn't like, or at least he can't relate to it. So I'm finding it harder and harder to share things with him. Which is really weird.
It's not that he doesn't support me (he does!), but since I know this is not his style, or even a style he understands, I feel almost embarrased to show things to him. Especially since I'm really struggling to find my way in this new field.
So, if this is something I feel embarrassed to share with the most important person in my life, maybe this direction in my art is not where my heart lies?
Anyway, this has really made me doubt myself...
@Annemieke I had this exact conversation with my sisters last fall. I sounded them out about this issue because I have a very good friend whose father was an oil painter and she herself was an art major for awhile, and I highly respect her abilities and her "eye" but she likes the traditional arts. When I paint landscapes in watercolors, she loves them but when I do illustrations, or digital work, her response is usually "meh." It made me seriously doubt my work because I so highly regard her opinion. I shared my frustrations with my sisters (whom I also respect) and they said, "She is a traditionalist and it's not surprising that she doesn't respond to your illustrations. Remember that her opinion is just her opinion; it's not a definitive judgement." One of my sisters is married to a professional musician who has moved from an indie style to a jazz style because it's more lucrative and she said, "I honestly don't like what he is playing as much now as I liked his earlier material but I understand his decision and I try to support the artist even if I'm not keen on the art."
It would be great if you can get your partner to learn how to better support you even if he doesn't personally respond to your art but if you can't, the second best thing is to find a group who does understand what you are trying to do and find affirmation there. (This forum is great for that.) I started posting my pieces to a select group of friends on Facebook who I know like my illustration style, and slowly developed a small following on Instagram because I realized that there wasn't anything wrong with me for admitting that I am buoyed by those likes! Likewise, you might find that gathering supporters or people who understand what you are attempting through this forum and other sources will not only help chase away your doubts but may show your partner that others do respond to what you are doing and cause him to look at your stuff with a fresh eye.... or not Either way, you will feel less alone.
Basically what I'm saying is that you can't give any one person -- even someone you love dearly -- too much power when it comes to judging your work. Their opinion is just that -- an opinion. You've got to be true to what you feel you need to be doing.
@Annemieke My family is definitely on my list of people whose opinions I care about. And for the most part they rarely noticed, much less loved, my artwork. It's ok to make art for an audience that isn't your partner. I agree with @demotlj 100% and hope you can get past the doubt.
Just going to echo what has already been said... in the end, the very most important person on your list is YOU. Are you pleased with the work you are making? And even if the work itself doesn't resonate with your partner, does he support that you want to do the work, and recognize that it makes you happy? THAT is the important thing. My husband doesn't always "get" my concepts or the pieces I want to make, but he is 100% on board with me wanting to illustrate and make a career out of it, and that is the most important thing.
@Sarah-LuAnn hi Sarah, I don’t want to be a pest, but are you getting my messages? I started a chat with you here in the forum and also DM’d you in IG.
@demotlj @ThisKateCreates @Sarah-LuAnn Thank you for your supporting words. Since I'm still learning and struggling, I find it very hard not to let his opinion matter so much. He is very supportive and never says anything negative, he's just much more enthusiastic about my traditional work.
I love what I see on this forum and as soon as I've got some work to show (in other words, after I've finished a few svs-courses ) I'll start posting here. Maybe for the next months challenge...
Meanwhile, I'll keep on with the growing gills homework as well.
Julia last edited by
Although I read all the comments from week to week, I haven't participated yet because I haven't started yet to read the book! I am trying to save all my spare moments to draw nowadays... unfortunately it comes over reading.
This question "who are the only people whose opinions REALLY matter to me?" does puzzle me. Yes, who are they indeed?
I usually don't share my drawings with my family (unless I specifically need support!) because they are too kind and lack of critical view.
I came to the forum to find a community and to get the help I needed to make progress. However, people here are really good! I felt I had to improve my work and learn from my obvious mistakes (ie the ones I can see) first before I could submit my work to such an experienced crew.
Then I started to share some small pieces on Instagram. Of course, there is a bias because people who follow me (or are kind enough to "like" my posts) find something in my work they respond to. But they are random people. It helped me that my family was maybe less partial than I thought and may actually like my drawings.
Hence I think the only opinions that really matter when it comes to art are... my own! In the end, it is all about how I perceive the opinions of the others. Realizing this has helped me to be less judgemental about my work and also less sensitive to people's opinions. Some may like my drawings, some may not, yes, I still need to make progress but it's ok as long as I am happy in my journey.
This is a bit of a long story as well as a recent findings. I hope it resonates with others and I hope it helps you Annemieke to take your own journey.
Julia last edited by
@Julia ps : please excuse me for my bad grammar and spelling mistakes. Hope it is readable. It has been a really long day
No problem, @Julia! Thank you for your comments. I feel the same about a lot of my family members--sometimes they're inclined to just like my art because I'm the one that made it, not because of the art itself. I try to find a balance between getting feedback from them, and from people who are more objective--like you're doing on Instagram, or by participating here in the forums. It helps to have another source of feedback. But in the end, you are absolutely right--the most important person to please is yourself.
As for the chapter this week, I kind of fell off the bus... my drawing class started up this week, so that captured a lot of my time and attention. Add to that the fact that the next chapter is kind of long, and, well... it didn't get read.
I'm giving myself (and anyone else who needs it) until next weekend to finish reading the next chapter and doing the exercise... unless you already read it and want to share your thoughts!
See you next week!
Well, chapter six did not have an official exercise at the end, but it did have a pretty clear action step: choose ONE creative project to focus on.
This is easy for me since my choice is already made: my One Project right now is to complete my dummy book. I do have other things going on, such as my drawing class and keeping two toddlers happy and healthy, but they are more in the category of routines rather than projects. Since I’ve been focusing on my dummy I’ve made great progress and I hope to have it ready in time to submit for the Don Freeman grant. Whether or not I make that deadline, when I have it finished within the next few weeks I will start querying agents... which is kind of the real goal, so the dummy is partly a means to an end.
What One Goal are you all focusing on?