Lately, this old feeling has been resurfacing its ugly head in my psyche again. Whenever I’m interested in a new art form, and begin looking around at what other people are doing in that particular art, I become intimidated, overwhelmed and frustrated.
Part of my problem is that I’m struggling to find my own unique style. If I have one I don’t realize it, or I don’t like it. I’m not a copycat. I try to take a little of this and a little of that from other’s work and try to morph it into something original I can call my own, but I have a really difficult time doing that and I hate it. And here’s my mental glitch. I feel if I don’t think up something on my own, it’s not valid and it doesn’t count and it certainly doesn’t feel like its really mine. I know when an artist is beginning a new medium, the thing to do is look at what others are doing and learn from it. Back in 19th century Paris, fledgling painters used to sit in the Louve with their sketch pads and canvas’ and copy from the Masterpieces. Even they did it and these artists turned out to be Degas, Van Gogh and other famous artists.
This is such a struggle for me. My current demon is art journaling. I go online to other people’s blogs and see all the journals they are doing and I’m amazed. Immediatly, the “Why didn’t I think of that?” kicks in and all these feelings come flooding in and I begin to mentally beat myself up over it. I so desperately want to be original and creative-kick ass creative and it’s such a struggle for me. I’ve often thought it might be a bad thing for me to be looking around and seeing what other’s are doing. Maybe if I just kept privately to myself and work independently of outside influence I could let my true style emerge, unadulterated by being exposed to other artists’ styles. But that’s no fun. It’s part of the process to see how other artists interpret an idea and implement techniques.
I am trying to understand why this search for originality is so difficult for me. One of my problems is I’m very distracted. I have a difficult time focusing and trying to figure out what it is I want to do, what I want to paint, and how I can put an idea together. I’ve been taking Ginko Biloba every day to help my mental concentration and to help me focus. How is it that some artists develop such unique styles and seem to do it effortlessly? What inspires them? Is it possible I, too have this, and I’m just not recognizing it, or worse yet, not loving it? Admittedly, when I see the work of ‘successful’ artists, I really do feel a twinge of envy, and a lot of aggrivation. I get angry with myself for being so stumped.
I have realized something about myself that never really occured to me. I prefer to do creative projects with someone. I love, more than anything, to get a small group of friends together who love to do the same thing, such as doll making or art journaling and sit at a table together and work side by side. It’s so much more fun and productive for me to work this way. I love the company of other artists. I love the laughter, exchange of ideas and frivolity that goes along with a group. I have had this experience several times with doll making. A couple of my Hootin Annie’s doll designs have been born at a table, right alongside my sewing friends. I enjoy being alone, but when it comes to making art, I prefer the company of my girlfriends hands down to working solo.
In an effort to help myself develop a signature style, I am going to continue art journaling. I think art journaling can be a form of ‘art exercise’ that will allow greater creative ideas to follow. By exercising my right brain, maybe I can build up my artistic muscle and suddenly I will figure out or recognize my uniqueness. It will be like trying to have a baby. It takes some work and repetition to get pregnant (give birth to an original style), but it will be fun while I’m trying.
I suppose whatever happens, I have to realize that I must be true to myself, and however my orignial style emerges, I have to celebrate it and foster it to help it grow and evolve. Art gets better with practice, and it tends to morph into different things. If I devote a part of each day to being creative, and if I always keep my eyes open to new things and allow myself the time to get there, an epiphany just might hit me like a ton of bricks and suddenly I’ll be there, right where I want to be. I so desperately want to have it all figured out so. But for now, I’m going to stop lamenting, after all, Estee Lauder-the makeup diva, said it best, “I didn’t get where I am by thinking about it or dreaming about it. I got where I am by DOING IT.”
That’s just what I’m going to do.
Just curious. Do any of you have this same feeling?