Lately I’ve been thinking about art wounds from my past. Maybe you have a similar story.
I’ve been art journaling a lot recently and had some negative stuff about not being good at art come up. I’m always telling my students despite their lack of confidence, just try it anyway. I encourage them to just try art journalling. Regardless how you think it looks, it’s the doing that matters.
But sometimes I feel like I’m not an artist. Who am I to tell people to make art journal pages when I’m not an artist myself?
Lately I’ve been thinking about where that story came from.
I am an artist and in my confident days I feel great about it.
In my non-confident days I feel like when I share an art journal page, drawing or painting I need to have a caveat that I am not an artist whatsoever. I’m just experimenting. On those days sometimes I don’t share anything at all.
It started in high school.
I have always been very crafty, but never ever thought of myself as an artist. I wanted to be able to draw and paint. I have very artistic friends. Finally I took an art class in high school. Within a week or so I had dropped it. I can’t remember exactly what happened, but the teacher said something to me that made me feel like I didn’t belong in that class, that I was not an artist.
Ironically, considering what I do now, I had a very similar experience in a high school jewelry making class. (Different teacher.) My high school art teachers were super unsupportive to anyone who wasn’t already an artist. Thinking about it now it seems crazy. In high school you’re still so young. It’s possible that you never had the opportunity to try things like art. It’s a time of experimentation.
I steered clear from art for decades. I “knew” I wasn’t an artist, so I never tried to do art. I stuck to my crafts (including jewelry making and scrapbooking and others), but I didn’t bother with drawing or painting or anything like that.
What art wounds do you need to heal?
Is there a recording playing in your head telling you that you are not an artist? How did that recording get there?
If that wound was not there, what would you be doing?
For me, I wanted to paint. So several years ago I tried painting. It felt like freedom.
Do the art you wanted to do. You can take a small step like just spending 5 minutes trying something you always wanted to try. Maybe it’s something you used to do until someone told you you’re not good enough. Return to it.
Maybe it’s something new you’ve wanted to try. Try it.
Be kind and easy on yourself.
You may find it painful and the words or feelings of that original art wound my come back and hurt you. That recording I mentioned earlier will get loud in your head. Be patient. Take it one step at a time.
Be encouraging to yourself. Replace that negative voice with something encouraging from yourself. You can listen to that negative voice and say to it, “I hear you, but I’m going to do this anyway.”
Do not use any shortcomings you see as proof that the recording that you’re playing in your head is right.
Do more art.
The more art you do, the more confident you will get. I love art journals because you have all these pages to fill with artwork and no one has to see them (unless you want to share them.)
Just keep at it. Keep creating art. Reset that recording that tells you you’re not an artist. Record right over it with a new positive message!
If you’re not sure about what to do, I highly recommend jewelry making (of course!) You can get started here.
It’s great because it’s fun to make, it can be meditative when you’re making it, you express yourself while you’re making it and you get to wear your art and express yourself when you’re wearing it, too!
Art jounaling is also a great tool to help you get through your art wounds. It’s private. You can write, draw, paint, experiment and do whatever you like in there and no one has to see it unless you share it.
Find tips to start an art journal here.
Heal your art wounds and start creating with these free resources: