Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When Self-Doubt Creeps In

Current work in progress...
As artists, we have all experienced the moment when, despite how successful we may actually be, self-doubt starts to creep in. It may be self-doubt about what or how we are painting. It may be self-doubt about whether or not we have that special something that will get us noticed and make us successful artists. Or, it may be self-doubt about a hundred different other things that have to do with having the life of an artist. I feel like self-doubt is always peeking around the corner, trying to sneak into our lives to knock down whatever it is we have spent years building up. It's a horrible creature, self-doubt, but one that is hard to get rid of completely. It happens to the best of us when we least expect it and can keep even the most confident artist out of the studio and creating.

Sound familiar? It certainly has been for me lately. In the past week or so I have been feeling pretty down about my sales. I currently have work in seven, yes SEVEN different galleries, which sounds really impressive. Most days I am very proud and impressed with my accomplishments. It's not easy to have this many galleries showing your work in less than two years, but then self-doubt starts to creep in. Self-doubt doesn't care how hard I worked in getting a cohesive body of work. It doesn't care that I worked my butt off trying to market myself and get my work out into the public. It also doesn't care how many gallerists like my work. Being the horrible monster that it is, it sees the tiniest bit of negative, and for me that's poor sales, and starts to feed on it until I feel so down that I can't be creative or function as an artist.

It's hard on me knowing that my work is out there, in galleries, but not selling well. I feel like I did what I was supposed to do. I created good work and got it into galleries, so why isn't it selling??? If they aren't selling, then it must be that my work isn't that good or perhaps not decorative enough, right? Maybe I should make my work more palatable to the general public? I hear color and texture are things people like and are buying. Maybe I should do that? It all starts to spiral down out of control from there.

Earlier stage of work in progress
Fortunately for me, I know what to do when I start to feel this way...after I have felt this way for a few days, that is. I have a great support group of friends/ artists and a wonderful husband who know that this is just self-doubt talking and can talk me "off the ledge". I also know to step back and look at the situation when I am more calm, because until I have calmed down, there is no way you can talk reason to me. This doesn't change the fact that my sales are still low but I can't let that get me down to the point where I am not doing what I love, which is painting. It is so important to stay positive and affirm the outcomes that I want, while also continuing my hard work, otherwise it's too easy to wallow in self-doubt and self-pity (self-doubts best friend that is always close by). It's not easy to do, I am slowly getting out of this funk, but I have to believe that if I keep putting out quality work, the world will finally figure out that my work is worth buying. In the meantime, I will continue to paint, improve the quality of my work, and make myself the best painter I can possibly be.

Speaking of which...here's two finished pieces:

"Baby G", 14"x14", oil and encaustic wax on panel.

"Two Guys", Four panels, 8"x8" each, oil and encaustic wax on panel.

1 comment:

  1. my God, your work has a realistic, yet mysterious, trait to it. i like.