I wrote the following for a blog post by Rachel Honner of Hip Brown Home. I encourage you to follow up and read Rachel’s original posts here and here. The artwork above (thank you Lauren) has been generously offered as a free download, for more details follow this link.
Well this topic really got me thinking and I wanted to share my response with my own readers as well. I try and always be honest about this kind of stuff (failing/struggling). It keeps me feeling real. I also want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have supported me over the years, by either buying my work or showing an ongoing interest, it really means a lot in times of self doubt to be able to reflect on your friendships. So here goes…..
“I have experienced both success and failure in my years of painting. My biggest fear I guess would be the fear of failing, of not being able to sustain my painting as a long term thing, most of the time I am fine, but it does get me in a slump some days. The fear that I will have “wasted” my time and energy.
There are a couple of things however, I have learnt over time, which really help me continue doing what I do. One is to be very clear in my own mind about what my definitions of success are, and to be careful not to measure myself or my work against that of other peoples. To remember that everyone has a unique journey to travel. Success for me therefore, has to include a well balanced life for my family and myself, and so often my creative stuff has to play second fiddle to other priorities. The benefit to me though is that when I am feeling anxious or frustrated with my work, spending time with my children is a great way to restore balance and bring perspective back into my life.
Other things that help me manage negative thoughts are knowing that I work hard and to a high standard, and the rationale that one day that will pay off. Also I am careful not to compromise or change my work for others.
You have to love what you do more than you fear failure. I know this to be true because even after times of disappointment and rejection, I keep painting. It’s an addiction for me, and a passion. I will do it regardless of outcomes, even though I must admit I have had times when I consider getting a “real” job.
I often remind myself of how fortunate I am to have a life I love living. I am blessed with endless ideas, (if anything that can be a frustration in itself). I have a great studio in my house and a supportive husband and family. I have also had some wonderful artistic opportunities, like exhibiting in New York in 2013. With every success the bar raises and so do my expectations for myself and my art. It’s a long life though, and I am far from done.
I am definitely the tortoise from the “Tortoise and Hare” fable. I have big future plans, and these help me keep grounded in the day to day ups and downs of being creative for a living. I blog about some of this stuff on my website, as I know I am certainly better at the balancing thing than what I was when I first started painting 17 years ago, and I am happy to share what I have learnt. I am also adding to my family with my lucky last, (fifth) baby, who arrives in early November. So I will be even more tortoise like for the next twelve months!”
I thought I would include some resources below that over the time have helped cement my own ideas about how I feel about success and failure. It is worth taking the time to work out what it is you want and what “success” means to you. By doing this there is a great peace to be had within yourself!
I highly recommend reading “Living with a creative mind”, this book certainly helped me understand myself better.
Watch this clip about success and failure by Elizabeth Gilbert.
And spend a bit of time with Tony Robbins, you’ll be glad you did.
I hope you have found something useful here either in my own experiences or in the words of the pros above! You are always welcome to share my posts in your own social networks or with someone specific who you think might enjoy them!
In the spirit of celebrating success I pulled out this frankie magazine, issue 45, in which my story was told in the “everybody has a story” section. This was a turning point for me in so many ways, but something I don’t think I have ever stopped and been truly grateful for.. so there you go….. I wrote about it here..