January 19, 2017

What feels harder than making art?


One of the hardest things in my life I have ever done was become an artist. Like so many people, I had serious doubts. I saw my life hadn’t been one of any particular struggle. I believed great art had to come out of monumental struggle. A place of deep anguish.

Nothing particularly traumatic ever occurred in my life. Finally, I just decided that even though my life wasn’t filled with huge amounts of pain, there was plenty- it was filled with that I wanted to express. I chose painting and actually writing to do this. I am still figuring it out.

Over time I was able to slowly build up the self-confidence to put my art out in the world. And of course your art is actually you. This is why it is so scary.

Our biggest fear is that we will be criticized. Someone we don’t know or even worse, someone we actually care about, will tell us what we are making is not adequate. It doesn’t measure up and as a result of our efforts we somehow are less.

When this occurs it can rupture the relatively thin filament of self-confidence we as artists have so slowly and tenderly built up within ourselves.

Usually those people who put you down are not artists and therefore their words, at least for me, are not so much of a concern. Those who have even a tiny inkling how fraught the creative process is with insecurity and self-doubt rarely feel the need to make the situation worse for someone.

But when it happens, and it will, don’t let it. Don’t give it too much attention. Somewhere I heard the saying  “Don’t let it rent space in your brain” which I love.

Hear it, consider it, look for a morsel of learning if there, and then step away.
Let it go and move only towards the people and things that bring you alive.

And never, never look back.

Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.