Almost every artist bio I read includes a line about drawing or doing photography starting in childhood. That was never me. I appreciated art, but creating work that was up to my own standards seemed unattainable. I remember in 6th grade that I started to draw a bobcat in art class, but once I was 60% finished I became convinced that if I kept drawing I would ruin it. So I chose to leave it unfinished rather than to risk messing it up.
So I can’t say that I was constantly drawing and coloring as a kid, but does that mean I am disqualified from being a painter now?
I have started playing around with paint and my head games still abound. Today I chose to paint on cheap paper so that if my art was terrible I could throw it away without too much loss. Then of course I must deliberate over if the work is worth sharing. What if people don’t like my color choices, or think my work is childish, amature, feminine or frivolous? It’s tempting to hide all my work and only share it once I have put in my 10,000 hours and can produce truly masterful work.
I don’t know how long it will take before I can produce work that meets my own standards, or if I will ever achieve that level of mastery in this medium, but I have decided that painting needs to be a part of my life. When I decided to become a photographer I had not had the luxury of being able to say that I had always known that I wanted to be a photographer. I had not skills and no portfolio, but I am thankful that I did have this naive unsubstantiated belief that I possessed an innate talent that I could develop into skills that one day people would pay a lot of money for. That belief paid off.
I didn’t become rich or famous, but I have exceeded my goals and my career continues to excite and surprise me.
It really doesn’t matter that there are thousands of photographers who are better or more successful than me. I don’t have to be the best for my work to matter or for it to be beautiful and valuable. So I am off again with more romanticized ideas of being an artist, but I find so much freedom in not aiming to be the best. Just like with my photography, through painting I am aiming only to create work that is meaningful, beautiful, and valuable. And I am inviting you to see all the pieces I create along the way on my journey from where I am to where I want to be.