I recently watched a TED Talk (holla) about vulnerability. A few things I learned -
1. Psychology is really cool
2. Vulnerability is uncomfortable
3. Despite the previous statement, vulnerability is good
4. I can't spell Psychology
I'm not naive enough to think that potential rejection is a vulnerability only I have encountered. Rejection is everywhere - work, friendships, dating. Any instance when you put yourself out there and there's a chance someone could say, "nope, you're not it".
I had an "aha" moment. I've never been okay with showing my paintings throughout the entirety of the process from a blank white canvas to completion. Prior to this epiphany, I thought it was because I didn't want to ruin the excitement of seeing the work for the first time once completed, or because I was a perfectionist. BUT when it really comes down to it, it's about the possibility of rejection. I don't want people to see it as incomplete and think I'm a terrible artist. Above all else, I want people to take me seriously- both as an artist and as a professional. Allowing my work to be seen unfinished leaves plenty of room for others to make speculations about my skill.
Sure. I share a few pictures here and there of my paintings in progress, but it's all in my control. I choose the right angle and the right stopping point.
Per previous list item number 3. Let's embrace this vulnerability thing. I've been documenting the progress of one of my current pieces- consciously trying to take a photo when I think it looks "bad". Annnnnnd here they are. I'll be adding more as I continue to work in hopes that this can be an enlightening experience for me and I'll learn a thing or two about my process, my technique, and my style.
Finally, it's finished!
It took me entirely too long but I did it and I took pictures along the way to show the entire process.
So, what did I learn?
First, that it's really hard to commit time to art while working full-time.
Secondly, lighting makes a BIG difference. You're thinking, "obviously", right? I know lighting is important but I've taken countless photos of my work in bad lighting over the years and just now realized this was a huge mistake.
Finally, that each piece of artwork is basically a really big hill. Let me explain that one. With this piece, for example, I spend maybe 6 total hours on it. But if I think of it in terms of completeness on a scale from 0% to 100%, 4 of those hours were spend getting the piece from 0 to 50% while it only took me 2 hours to go from 50%- 100%. The climb to the top of the hill is a slow one. It's a steady incline but it's tough. And then at a certain point, my motivation is so overwhelming that I can't stop working on a piece. So what makes me work harder at a certain point? Basically, it's when I get to the top of 'the hill" and I can see what the finished product will look like. I've realized this is true for every painting I've ever done. Every piece of artwork for that matter.
Also, it's at this proverbial "highest point" that I was willing to show others my work. Why? Because I was confident in what the finished product would be. I knew it was going to be badass. There was no doubt and I definitely wasn't nervous about others questioning my skill.
I'm excited to keep exploring this idea of a "turning point" or "highest point" and see if I can pinpoint any specific characteristics that make a certain moment during my process more important than all the others.
If you're wondering which picture represents the "highest point" for this piece? Check out #7.
Wanna watch the video? http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability