Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Big Magic Part 2

I've been reading Elizabeth Gilbert's 
new book Big Magic. 

I love the idea of talking about creativity and am devoting several blog posts to some of the points she makes in the book.

Elizabeth talks about "creative entitlement" believing that you are entitled to be here. I think of it as; "I paint so I am an artist". Recently, I wrote an interview about a woman who teaches over 350 elementary children art each day. She doesn't consider herself an artist because she has never had the formal education. I think she's an artist but she will never be an artist until the day she declares to herself, "I am an artist."

This is an issue that is near and dear to me as I become more involved with the arts. There is always works that I consider superb and my first reaction is; "that artist is better than I am". It would be so easy to go down some incredible negative path of comparisons. I stop, and remind myself that I also have talent and am different from everyone else. We all are unique. What a shame it would be if we all started painting like someone else.

Elizabeth explains it best when she says;
"This proclamation of intent and entitlement is not something you can do just once and then expect miracles; it's something you must do daily, forever. I've had to keep defining and defending myself as a writer every single day of my adult life - constantly reminding and re-reminding my soul and the cosmos that I'm very serious about the business of creative living, and that I will never stop creating, no matter what the outcome, and no matter how deep my anxieties and insecurities may be."

She talks about the Central Paradox that art is meaningless and deeply meaningful at the same time. Some days we must be able to jump back and forth between these two ideas within minutes. I loved her example; "My creative expression must be the most important thin in the world to me (if I am to live artistically), and it also must not matter at all(if I am to live sanely)."

It's important to be able to handle the time in between the successes. Elizabeth calls this the time you have to love you own "shit sandwich". Learn how to deal with frustration, failure and rejection. One of my favorite things about the art business is that it will always change. It's a roller coaster of high and lows. One day your work comes easily and you are at the top of your game. Just wait for it.... the knock down punch, either from your own mind or the outside world. These are the times I use my dreams to raise the bar just a bit higher. "I can't get this technique... I'm going to keep on going until I master it. No one wants to buy my work today? Okay, but I talked to a lot of people and collected a lot of emails. I had no chance of winning that competition against artists at that caliber of expertise. Okay, next year I'll be better and the year that I do win his competition I will remind myself how impressed I was with the winner's work."

Next time; "Don't quit your day job." Whoops... too late.

Tell me about your creativity. When did you know you were an artist? How do you handle rejection and frustration? I want to hear from you please let a comment.

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