I’ve recently taken up painting.
I’m not very good at it, but I love splashing colour across the canvas, trying to make something beautiful out of the incoherent, armature brush strokes.
My paintings don’t really take on much form – they’re totally abstract – but I find the process of blending the colours together, watching the paint run rivets down the page completely comforting. Swirling my brush across the page gives my brain a chance to turn off, to be completely consumed by the inlay of inky purples and bright blues. For someone whose brain is always planning, always thinking, always on, it is so freakin’ nice to have found something that leaves me quiet, allows me to be present, makes me mindful.
But still, when I step back from the work that I have spent hours lovingly cultivating into being, I am unable to sit content; to carefully slide it into a frame and mount my work on the wall for people to see. I feel the need to seek it’s validation, to run to someone who can pat me on the head and comment, ‘well done’.
Besides the fact that I’m obviously insecure about my artwork, I can’t understand why I think people would care. Am I so narcissistic that I think my friends or the Waitrose man or whomever else steps foot into my flat will care enough to form an opinion? I mean, clearly my softly painted watercolours are so profound that they warrant notice and comment.
Steve Pressfield wrote in Turning Pro that “The amateur dreads becoming who she really is because she fears that this new person will be judged by others as different…Here’s the truth: The tribe doesn’t give a shit…Each individual is so caught up in his own bullshit that he doesn’t have two seconds to worry about yours…or to reject or diminish us because of it.”
Perhaps the real issue is that I’m onto a good thing. That while I might not be naturally talented, I enjoy the task of creating something I believe is beautiful. That each brush stroke leads me closer to my true self, the woman I want to be.
And my ego can’t handle it.
People have so much crap going on in their own lives, that they don’t have two seconds to spend worrying about yours…
or your work,
or your divorce,
or your thighs in those pants,
or your painting.
So I’m pushing on.
And even if I produce something truly horrible (look, it’s quite possible), I’m going to hang it on my wall and be proud of the effort and the time and soul I put into each speck of paint.
Because those specks are mine.
And I love them.
Skirt: Review | Cardi: Alannah Hill | Shoes: Primark | Earrings: Diva | Coat: Cue | Scarf: Primark