This is a note I'll be sharing with the students who are in my Plein Air Painting Class at Artsplace in Cheshire. We just completed week 2 of a 5 week class that is held on Thursday mornings from 9-12pm. Even if you aren't in the class, feel free to leave a comment below about having the right perspective. Would love to engage in a conversation about your experience.
Note to Students:
I hope you don’t think I’m picking on you. I truly want to help you grow your artistic skills. I’m thrilled that you are in this class and I value you as a student and your desire to want to learn. We are all on this journey together. Some a little more advanced, and some are at the beginning. But that’s the exciting part because we can all learn from each other.
One of the hardest things to do is to not compare yourself with someone else. We all do it. I do it too. It’s part of our human nature. But just because it’s part of human nature doesn’t mean that it’s always helpful for us. We need to put on the right learning glasses to have a perspective that will help us, not hinder us.
Speaking from my own experience, which I hope you can relate to, I have attended classes or workshops where I’m eager to start, to take what the teacher has demonstrated and put it into practice. I gather my supplies, get set up, put the first marks on the paper or canvas, and within a few minutes I can hear that inner critic say “what are you doing? that isn’t right? “ weren’t you paying attention?”
Or I might be working away and everything is going great I just finished the first step. I pause, take a break, lift my head and look around at what everyone else is doing and boom, I immediately start to compare my work with my classmates. Let’s be honest, do you do that too? The thoughts would go something like this… “look at how much better so and so’s work is next to mine” or “why didn’t I do that?” or the dreaded “what am I doing here? They are so much better than me”. If my thoughts were visible you could actually see them travel in a downward spiral.
Or what if it goes in the other direction. What if I look around and say to myself “mine is so much better” yikes! That sounds so prideful! I’m so glad no one can read my thoughts. But this can be an equally dangerous place too. Why? because perhaps I’ve convinced myself that I know it all. I take on this “been there, done that” attitude. It just sounds arrogant as I type these words. If I spiral to those thoughts I’ve also closed the door to learning and growing my skill.
What’s happening here? I’m wearing the wrong set of “perspective glasses”.
So, instead I will adjust my focus and say to myself, “ I’m here to learn not just from the instructor but from the other students. I want to be stretched, challenged and grow. Somethings I create are really good and somethings are just practice. Accept it. When my eyes, ears, heart and mind are wide open and eager, even hungry to learn.... the Possibilities are Limitless!“
I call these “Teachable lenses”.
This is a conscience choice I have to make and so will you. Choose to see and embrace your uniqueness. Each and everyone of us has an incomparable artistic voice, that was meant to be discovered, nurtured and cultivated. If I put a halt to comparing myself to anyone else and choose to be open to new ideas, suggestions and maybe a different way of solving a problem or breaking a habit that might be hindering my ability to grow - Progress and advancement will follow. Yes!!
After all that’s exactly what we are doing here in the first place. Right? RIGHT!
I've been working very hard in my studio in preparation for my upcoming solo show at Evergreen Woods in North Branford, CT. I'm very excited to share my latest work created from my trip to Italy. Some pieces are posted on my website and social media. There are a few more that are still "cooking" and will share as soon as they are done. If are in the area please stop in or join me at the reception.
Show date: June 5 to July 5, 2018
Reception Date: Friday June 8, 2018 - Open to the Public 4:00-6:00pm
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