Encouragement to new artists
I recently got an email from someone reaching out asking for advice and encouragement. As she is a new artist, I thought it would be helpful to share my thoughts here in case it could be helpful to someone else:
It's lovely that you have newly found an appreciation for art!
I'll just get straight to the point: if you see yourself as defective, nobody else will see you as anything else either. But God sees you as completely competent, able, talented, disciplined, wise, and inspired - as whole and completely perfect ALREADY. God already approves of you and sees your worth. (You can't earn this worth, and therefore it can't be lost). God's valuing of you is tied to His/Her complete all-power and goodness.
Maybe before launching into how to be an artist, perhaps you might consider how to see yourself the way God sees you. From that you will get a very clear picture of what is your work to do - and what is not your work to do. And remember, that just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD. Soul is the synonym for God that I think of when I consider creativity, but it's also the one that pertains to identity. To me, this is not a coincidence. As you gain a more clear vision of your true identity, your purpose and avenues of creativity will also become more clear.
But I do encourage you in your expression of Soul, and art is one of the most exquisitely beautiful ways to do that. This is very natural, and to ignore it or shut it down would be unnatural.
Daily finding the discipline to work consistently is definitely the hardest thing of all for me. I try to work every day, but sometimes I don’t. Social media paints a very false picture compared to the reality of things. Don’t let other peoples’ highlight reel discourage you.
If you want to be an artist, or do one new thing per day, first admit that you can do it. Then decide that you are going to do it. Simply giving your consent to that idea of being capable and high-functioning goes a long way in making art, and in life in general.
As far as exposure of your art, It just might be a matter of getting it out there in front of your “tribe“ of people who see the world the way you see it. I recommend taking an online class to show you how to do that. My goal for this past year was to make a website and get it set up for e-commerce, so that people can buy prints and therefore generate passive income.
Most importantly of all, I really do try to keep my thought centered on the idea that I am not the creator. God is the creator and I just reflect His beauty. This takes the personal responsibility out of it. Your job is to make the art – not judge the art. You can be responsible for the quantity, but let God be in charge of the quality.
Figuring out your purpose for your art goes a long way in keeping you on mission. For example, my “why“ is to make the world a better place, which in my experience happens when people spiritualize their thought. Therefore, I strive to paint art that uplifts out of the material and towards the spiritual. Not only does this give me a sense of purpose, but it gives my work a cohesive mission, therefore eliminating the conundrum of trying to figure out “my style“ which had previously haunted me for years.
So have the goal in mind and ask yourself “what is the one thing I could do that would guarantee the attainment of my goal?“ Then count backwards from that as your starting point and ask yourself “what do I need to do in order to make that happen?“ You basically work in that way all the way down to what you can do today. It gives a roadmap that I have found makes intimidating tasks less overwhelming. I hope this was helpful. It is important that we artists support each other. There is no competition. The pie just gets bigger. You can do it. If it is your work to do (discerned by prayerful listening to what God actually wants you to do), then, you can do it! And you will be successful. It’s divine law.