Every year, after the SMC, I experience the same: a great surge of inspiration, a huge ordeal of ideas and projects I have in mind to work on for next year. Then, a few weeks in (us usually I don’t have that much time to paint this time of year) another emotion surfaces: insecurity. Yes, sure I have an idea, but I don’t think I will be able to do it justice. Or, that would take so much time, I’m not feeling it right now. How many excuses can you make? I was suffering from my painter’s blues.
Last week one of my followers on Facebook (Thanks Olaf!) sent me this cartoon and I immediately recognized myself, and I believe many of you do as well (visit this website for more on the the creator’s curse. We are so hard on ourselves! I am, for sure, I want it to be perfect all the time. The funny thing is that for me I don’t experience this so much during painting, but mostly before or after. After is OK, that leads to improvement, I believe. Before is just plain annoying as it tends to keep me away from the brush. Why are we being so hard an ourselves? This is a great hobby, I really love painting so much, so then again… why?
As I mentioned before, I typically experience this emotions after a painting competition. Why do my models score this? What makes other models score better? And, most importantly, how can I make my models score better? I must say, this is not the first feeling I get. At first it is inspiration, as I said before, it is great to see such wonderful models in a competition. Yet, there is some crazy urge inside me that feels the need to be better, to compete. And this urge is devastating… to me…
I love participating in contests. Firstly, because it gives me the drive to actually finish a miniature. Often, I get stuck on the final finishes and projects get extended because of that. Secondly, and most importantly, I love seeing my works among the works of other painters. Thirdly, I love looking at other people’s work :). This goes for both online and real life events. Although, looking at something in person is always better than a picture. On the other hand, I have a dislike of competitions, I also explained this briefly in a previous post. I don’t like labelling miniatures as better than others, adding a value stamp to it. Everyone puts in their best effort, and how can you judge creativity?
|We are all winners! All your works are pieces of art :).|
So I experience this schizophrenia of being a perfectionist and loving the hobby. The question is, can you combine the two? Yes sure, I believe so. For example, I love to spend hours on this tiny piece of NMM just to get it right (by my judgement). But I hate that I feel this pressure, most of all because it is blocking me from actually painting.
If you managed to read this far, you might think: well, how is all this rambling going to help me face this? And I must admit here that here I am being a little selfish, as I hope to use this next part myself when I get stuck in this painter’s blues again.
For me there is really just one solution, and I believe many of you agree as I heard similar responses on some of my facebook posts. Just Paint! Get the feeling back again by doing what you love most. So what if it’s not the best paintjob you will ever make? According to the cartoon, it will never be anyway! It doesn’t make any sense to give yourself a hard time being overly critical, it takes away the fun, and also the inspiration. Myself, I like to paint something lighthearted. A relatively simple miniature, with a simple base. Just to finish a project. I usually start thinking I will paint it in a day or two. But once the excitement gets flowing again, I typically spend more time anyway. Not because it needs to be perfect, but because I like it. Tweeking the tiny details, spending time blending…more blending… and more blending… Happy trees!
Insert random motivational quote: google is full of them!
So basically, my message, which is intended for myself as much as for anyone struggling with this: Don’t be so hard on yourself! Love the hobby, love the time you spend painting, love how we can share this around the globe. Get inspired by others, be inspiring, and please don’t focus on numbers. Paint what you love, not what others love for the sake of getting higher ratings.
If you’re still here, thanks for sticking with me :). If you have any words of wisdom to share, please do! And just in case you are curious: yes, I have started my fun project and she will be finished really soon!
Pictures courtesy of:
Cartoon by Kris Wilson http://explosm.net/comics/3433/