How to Fall In Love With Your Art

Today I'll be talking about how loving your work is paramount to success as an artist, and how to fall in love with your art. 

 Me at my workbench. Photo by  Megan Bayley

Me at my workbench. Photo by Megan Bayley

I have a strong belief that to be a happy and successful artist, you must fall in love with your own work. To feel happy when looking at it in your own home or studio, and proud to share it with the rest of the world. Think about it this way: if you aren't your number one fan, then who will be? If you're hoping someone else will like your work and represent you, you're automatically handing your power away to others.

It's not as easy as flipping a switch or deciding to love your art one fine day. There are actually actionable steps that we can take as artists to love our art. Below are ways that I have grown my self love.

Build up skill

From my experience, I found that the more skill I gained in my medium, the more I loved the work I made. When we first start out to making art, the stuff we make will be bad (sometimes really bad!). And it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that "this is as good as it gets". But that's false — with enough time, discipline, and work, anyone can make art that they're proud of.  

It's all about coming at your artwork from the attitude of learning. Instead of approaching your art as a measure of your worth, you approach it as a lesson. Every creation is teaching you something new, every technique is empowering your abilities to manifest your biggest ideas. Always be asking your art "what can I learn from you today?"

I personally believe that approaching our art practice with the intention to learn is the healthiest way to make art. It opens us up to mastering skills, keeps our egos at bay, and preserves our self worth. And on that topic...

 Drawing a portrait of singer, Lorde

Drawing a portrait of singer, Lorde

Build up self esteem

Self esteem. Also used interchangeably with self worth, self respect, and self love. These words are all talking about the same thing: do you believe that you deserve to be treated with love, care, compassion, respect, and kindness? Can you extend that same treatment to your art?

The amount of self esteem one has is directly related to how that person talks to themselves (and hence, how they allow others to treat them). Getting in the habit of talking to oneself with care will eventually spill over to talking to our art lovingly, too.

Maintaining a high sense of self worth is a life long project! It's not like there's a magic day where you can check a box and say "I have high self esteem". Because life throws at us all kinds of challenges that have the potential to take us down a notch: job loss, depression, loss of a loved one, disease and disability, mean people, criticism, failure, break ups. For me, I have adopted a daily practice of self love, where I see every action I take and interaction with other people as an opportunity to either raise or lower my self worth. Try going through your day that way, it will really change the way you interface with the world and yourself!

Hang your art in your home

21984636_1988318931453295_1771219486095966208_n.jpg

I personally believe that a big portion of your studio wall should be dedicated to displaying your art. I have an inspiration wall which I talked about in a previous post, where I mix my personal work in with my inspiration. I am constantly rotating my work, putting up my latest to look at. 

Displaying my art in my own studio has many benefits:

  • It's self-validating. There's something about putting up art on a wall that just instantly makes it look better. When it's sitting in a sketchbook, it feels like work in progress. Put it on a wall, and suddenly it's art!
  • It keeps my wheels turning. Seeing my latest work reminds me of the current ideas that are in motion, and it makes me think about what else I can do.
  • It keeps me focused. Artists are famously scatterbrained, and I am not exempt. Keeping my latest opus in sight reminds me of what my goals are.
  • It's energizing. Art has life, spirit, and energy in it that no chachki or pretty decor object can aspire to.

Show your work in public

Showing artwork in a public setting takes guts, but it's the most validating and confidence boosting thing you can do for your art. The positive and encouraging feedback you receive in the process is worth the effort in itself! Find a venue to show your work, put it up, and get everyone you can to attend. I have found some of my most supportive fans showing my work publicly.

Cut off negative people

Sometimes what holds us back from loving our work is negativity from the outside. It could be a family member, a teacher, a peer. It doesn't really matter who it is — if there is anybody in your life that is saying even the most subtly subversive things about you or your artwork, let that relationship go! Letting go of negative people opens the door for other people to enter your life that will be positive, encouraging, and constructive.

Benefits

The benefits of loving your art is that you will experience more joy and abundance. Loving your art will bring it to a wider audience, foster positive connection, raise your self esteem, and increase your art sales. 

That's all for this week's Creative Talk. I hope you learned something new and have a new found reason to put up that painting of yours :)

How did you fall in love with your art? Share in the comments!