Maybe I can keep this now, fragile thing that it is, and stay in the game permanently. I’ve been through the cycle again and again and still fall for it.
The top side of the cycle is a productive series of very pretty or particularly nice artworks. Taking them from concept to finish is intoxicatingly satisfying.
At some point, I enter the doubt cycle. The triggers usually come from the outside and I entertain them to my peril.
“So, ya been painting lately?”
I admit that I have, and remind them it’s legal.
They offer one of the following potential doubt seeds for me to plant:
“you paint girls? Do they think it’s normal for a man your age? And they let you?” which of course implies that I think the way the questioner must. Ew.
“Do you really think that’ll sell? People want landscapes.” The implication again is that only I will enjoy what I create. This is equivelant to calling someones child pointless.
From time to time I start wondering if I actually am the only one who loves the depictions I create, especially those of girls and women. Then I start worrying that people will surrender their good sense to imagine nefarious intent in my work.
I remind myself that girls are just people. Women are not always as I love to believe of them. I start to think maybe it really is vain to use this talent for such a beautiful but selfishly personal subject where I’m the sole audience.
Before long, I’m thinking I should make sure to paint what sells. Paint what will be enjoyed by many rather than one. This is where the work ceases and where nothing gets done. It’s awful.
But I know better. I know there are plenty of artists who paint life and girls as less than what they are.
At some point, I realize that I’m not wrong, they are angels. The ones I paint are. They may not seem it at each moment to each person, But they are what they are. They are indesputably unambiguously stunning examples of the best that this world has to offer, and the closest to heaven. This is why I prefer to draw and paint them.
Then I realize that no one smiles all day. People comb their hair for a portrait sitting at the photographer. They take pictures of their car either immediately after waxing and shining it up if it’s fancy or after they’ve cased it in mud if it’s rugged.
Turns out everyone realizes that they want to memorialize themselves, their stuff, and their ideas in what they think is the most agreeable light.
So why should I listen to anyone’s unsought advice about a business they are clueless to understand? And why would I indulge in the fear that because someone else degrades the beautiful, that it has anything at all to do with me?
Then I allow again that there is nothing constructive in a conversation that never happens.
Art is how I talk. When I’ve seen an angel, I think that’s worth sharing. Especially if the wonder can be felt by an appreciative heart.
After I’ve fallen into a trap of fate designed to shut me up, I finally awaken to the thing I’ve long believed: art doesn’t have to speak to everyone. Just to those who listen.
The biblical account of earth creation shows the order of importance and worth – the best comes after everything is in place and working.
There’s not a thing wrong with my choice of subjects! When I return to this conclusion, the light flips on and I am again able to create. I wouldn’t trade lives or talents with anyone.
Doubt departs, and inspiration is back!