Posted in being a sensitive artist, Creativity and imagination, Reg Creative Tips

I’m not allowed to look at other artists, Being Authentic Part two

comparingpostI’m blocked. I’m looking at Chapter 3 and it’s coming to the home stretch of being able to submit it as a sample chapter, and the ideas aren’t flowing.

The irony of this is I just wrote about what to do to unblock in last week’s post. But that’s how it always works, whatever I am meant to teach or share, that lesson will be full-fledged in my face. Welcome lesson.

I adore the work of other artists. They inspire me with their imagination and their original voices. Watching my Pinterest feed, I am in awe! But too much looking at other artists blocks me, especially when I am creating my own project.

I looked to the masters for advice. I took out the book, Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I sought out the book after finding it in Barnes and Noble, my church of books. Here I was, sitting on the floor cross-legged and tears of knowing were flowing down my cheek after skimming on a chapter and finding the one on Sewer Rats and Shame. I pushed them away before my stepdaughter could see it. Brown was writing about Comparing, my biggest vice.

“Another one of shame’s sidekicks is comparison…comparison sucks the creativity and joy right out of life. If our story includes shame, perfectionism, or comparison and we’re left feeling isolated or “less than,” we need to employ two completely counterintuitive strategies.”

Her advice is basically to tell your story to someone else, (would this work?), and to talk more lovingly to ourselves. I have a running dialogue in my head that isn’t pretty and was accumulated since I grew boobs. It is definitely the voice of shame and shame is mean and tells you how you suck. This piece of information was big for me. It was shame that was giving me headaches! Shame that was blocking my creative flow! It had a name and comparing was the disguise.

One of the hardest things about making this book has been asking myself, What makes this book special? Is it special enough? Which is a crap-load of old stuff to hit me with. What makes you special? How are you different then the person over there? Are you good enough?

I wrote last week about being Authentic. I think the antidote to the not enough’s, and comparisons, is being Authentic as possible. It’s the truest to you as possible.

Last week I talked about The Lab, that great hip hop dance group on World of Dance. Last week was the elimination rounds on the show and I hate the format. They are taking several dancers that in their own right that are wonderful and unique and pitting them up against each other. The Lab lost against a lithe little dancer who could bend like Gumby. We as the audience were forced to watch apples vs. oranges and the judges decide “who was better.” Isn’t that subjective? And why aren’t we honoring both styles? I am sure The Lab will recuperate and have now gained even more exposure for their dancing skills (they seem already pretty successful.)

So comparison has to have a winner, and that’s why it doesn’t work. Having to prove yourself or your work that it’s special? That’s a trap too and an evil one. My question would be, why aren’t they seeing what is special?

Now I do have a handicap against me — I’m Jewish and our culture pretty much was raised comparing. “Oh, look at so and so’s son. He’s went to Yale and is a Doctor. Isn’t that impressive?” Never mind that he’s a secret drug addict who cheats on his wife the first Friday of the month. Most folks are judged it seems on their education (because it is so valued in our culture), and on your job.

I come back to the creating part. You are working on a project. THE worse thing is to judge it in process. I share a story in my Help I’m Sensitive book. I took a NIA class and we were challenged with balancing poses. When I looked at yoga girl standing next to me in her perfect pose and matching yoga outfit, I fell right over. Pretty embarassing. But when I focused on my own core, my own body in straight line and how that felt, I had some amazing balance! I could stand like that for quite awhile. When we create we need to be enjoying the creating. Watch a kid draw or paint. They are messy, full of life and in the moment drawing or painting what they draw or paint. The worst thing would be to tell them to paint orange instead of red. You just cut off their flow, people!

And that’s essentially what I did by focusing on all the other “successful” artist’s accounts. I was watching yoga girl and telling myself how my orange should be red. And I wondered why no ideas would flow in there. I need to be that little kid again who has no knowledge of the world and what others are doing while painting their stuff animals blue and making an outfit of a tutu paired with a striped soccer shirt. It’s more of a protective mode I need to be in. To be able to shield her while she creates. 

Brene Brown was right. I do need to talk more lovingly to myself. If had a child in front of me creating, I would see all that was beautiful and raw and magical in her/his art. I would not parent her with discounting and tell her it was not enough. Our expression needs self appreciation!

Until next Blog Tuesday, how are you going to stop your habit of comparing and focus more on the work? I give you great appreciation for what is raw and beautiful for what you are making. It is more than enough, in fact, it is SPECIAL.

ronnidesigningfairy

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Go check out my Express Yourself with Line and Alien Botany Class I am offering in the Fall. Early bird rate registration!

 

Posted in Being Creative, Designing, The world of the imagination

The Goal is to be as Authentic as Possible, Part One

regtipstrengths

As I was writing in my Brain the other day (what I call my sketchbook notebook), I noticed that the underlying theme I was writing was about staying authentic, having that true voice in my creative work. The artists I admire so greatly all have such a unique style. (Think the late Dr. Seuss). They are true to themselves. I’m sure they weren’t overnight successes and somewhere along the way someone might have told them they were “doing it wrong,” or “too different,” or even told, “Why are you drawing in crayons, when the “in” thing right now is pen and ink?” And yet, they persisted, staying true to whatever was streaming out of them.

Finding that creative style all your own can take years. I know when I started out, my pen and ink drawings were wobbly at best. After lots of training at college, my drawings got more rigid or detailed. My illustration teacher, Dennis Corrigan, taught me how to fine-tune my pen and ink skills and include background places in the drawing for the eyes to rest. I would consider these drawings more realistic in style. This is one of my favorites of Lilibeth and Emily, my first beagles.

Lilscolor300

Where I am now in what I create is more of who I am, many years later, with a looser feel. My style is more clear and true to my voice, with a mix of precision from before, with whimsical loose. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how in the world I ever drew that many detailed lines. I lack the patience now and, ahem, cough, the eyesight. I know when I started I lamented I couldn’t be loose and free like some artists. Today, I embrace what I got.

Finding that authentic voice is a lot about being trueest to yourself, and folks can feel it. I’ve seen a lot of Potions out there lately on how to have a successful business. It looks like Fancy Seminars online to sign up for free this or that. It looks like pop in your photo here and take pics of your breakfast. It’s like the girl in high school who loses her identity so THAT boy will like her. All of a sudden, she loves basketball and hiking and wears tight jeans, when everyone knows she prefers soap operas, the mall, and the preppy urban look. If there is no PASSION underneath it, there’s no voice. It’s an empty voice. It should look like this:

The Lab

These kids have a strong, clear voice with their own sense of style. This is fierce passion in action. (SOURCE: NBC World of Dance on Youtube).

Creative folks out there that have such a distinct voice take us into their worlds. We can feel that energy bubbling all over. We feel that expression is coming from a deep source. I rummage through folks on Instagram that copy the mixed media crayon style like Teesha Moore or Jane Davenport. They are just starting in their quest. I am thinking down the line they will find that voice too after putting on someone else’s. Check out artist Claudia Six, who I found yesterday. Her distinctive imaginary friends and dark yet spooky style has a voice all its own. Check out her Alice in Wonderland series while you are there; theatrical yet whimsical. Would love to visit her studio.

Claudia Six

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 9.39.00 AM

SOURCE: Claudiasix.com

More scouting around Instagram I look for the voices that can’t be duplicated. I found this artist from California.

Lissa Herschleb

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 9.59.10 AM

SOURCE: Instagram, copyright Lissa Herschleb

Her style is funky yet distorted with a bit of whimsy thrown in. Her site. She credits “indigenous peoples and the spirit world” as her influence, and that voice is clear, raw and dramatic. You rock, Lissa.

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 10.11.41 AM

A Fanciful Twist – Vanessa Valencia

SOURCE: http://afancifultwist.typepad.com; copyright Vanessa Valencia

And on the other side of the spectrum, Vanessa takes you into her world of glitter and colors and golden retrievers with hats, and you want to get lost there in her imagination. This is a world I bet unicorns live. Each year she sponsors Madhatter and Halloween blog parties that have been fun and entertaining. Her positive and uplifting style bursts through photos on her blog. And through her parties, many try to replicate her, capturing that magic, but that’s impossible. Which brings me to…

The problem with all this admiring is you can envy their style and end up taking on a little of it and muddy up your own. Glitter on my photos? Yes, let’s add that. Black somber seems to work, I will recreate that for my Instagram photos. You are now so far south of who you are and meant to be. Be inspired by their work. Use that inspiration to propel you forward to your authentic path. If they can do it, so can you. As I create my Idea Emporium book, I am constantly reminded of this. With my research I see in other books, my book develops, but I am probably best creating far from the computer or the bookstore so the book can talk how it wants to be. After all, the point of my design activity book is finding YOUR style and voice, not drawing the same cupcake I draw. I want to see your style, your design. 

Grappling and pushing for your style doesn’t work either. You have to get there with experimentation, discovery, and even a few accidents. It can take years or a month. It all depends on how far you can deep-sea dive into yourself, and how much you can bypass the quicksand — all those “not enough” voices in your head.

The advice I keep getting is to STAY AUTHENTIC, whenever I am thrown off course. Be true to what I do best, stick by it, don’t judge it, and that applies to you also. From the examples I shared, the most successful creative people seem to do just that.

pandatrain
from IDEA EMPORIUM book

Until next Blog Tuesday, find what floats your boat and calls to you the most… hey, that has a catchy feel to it. Could be a song. With lots of hugs,

ronnidesigningfairy

ASKING FOR WHAT YOU NEED: If you liked this post, do consider, for only $1 a month even, becoming a patron to support the Idea Emporium Book project. The link is here. And be sure to follow this blog!