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We're Not Going to Like All Of Our Paintings

This morning in my email, I received a blog post from artist Nancy Hillis where she talks about finishing a painting and the struggle we artists go through in knowing when our painting is finished. Within her newsletter she discusses the internal critic that rises up to tell us we aren't good enough, that we need to cover up those marks we made, that we should just stop painting. That internal predator, as she relates the inner critic to, undermines confidence and plays havoc with our artistic process.

This hit home with me, as it is something I struggle with, especially as I work on my latest paintings. Sometimes I think we stand so close to the painting that we lose focus of the whole. We second guess and hesitate, and sometimes even gesso over a whole painting because we can't seem to move past that inner predator's roar.

A couple of things Nancy said resonated with me -

"The reality is that some of our paintings don’t work no matter what we do. Life is like that. We’re not going to like all of our paintings."


"Perhaps our ‘ugly’ works are the nascent forms of an emerging body of work."

It was that last statement that made me realize that stopping too soon - or worse, giving up entirely - may actually be hampering our progress. Sometimes pushing through is exactly what we need to move to the next stage and kick that predator critic away.


I know this post is about art, but I think it applies to all parts of our life. We need to learn to trust our judgement and jump in without knowing what is going to happen or whether it will work out.

So, that will be one of my New Year's resolutions: To trust the process, make confident marks, take risks and see where it takes me.

I encourage you to join me in that challenge.


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