getting out of my own way

I’m intrigued with how some of my students are able to grasp concepts easily, while others struggle with the basics, even though they’re smart and talented.  I’m sympathetic to those who find it more difficult. I’m at times one of them myself. It’s not easy to try hard at something and not get the results I want. It’s frustrating, to say the least.

It’s just a fact, I take myself way too seriously at times. While I’m sincere about my art, I seem unable sometimes to move forward. It’s almost as if I booby-trap myself into overthinking my work. So, how do I free myself and let my painting evolve the way it’s supposed to? I know for me, not being affiliated with a gallery at this point allows me to explore a deeper meaning in my work without fear of compromise. I’m able to experiment without anyone judging my ideas.

Interestingly enough, it was when I started working with collage that I discovered a way to tap into my subconscious. Often I’m taken by surprise by what happens. It’s not about having an idea as much as allowing images to find their way through the muddle. Suddenly my work has metaphor and irony, something I could never achieve when I was trying too hard to find it.

Now the minute I hear that critic’s voice in my head, I make a conscious effort to shut it off…even if it means leaving the studio. I find working in short spurts helps keep my mind fresh. I’m often surprised with what I’ve created and this fuels my painting.

If I take anything away from this, it would be to trust in the process and get out of my own way.