A huge reason I wrote The Artist Toolbox was because I saw the need in my students to break through obstacles in order to create freely. Having the right tools is extremely important, such as community, which enables us to have a net we can fall comfortably within when we are struggling. Focusing on getting better with our techniques is not enough, we also need to push through unavoidable phases of emotional ups and downs.
Overthinking a painting idea can easily lead to becoming so overwhelmed that you end up leaving the canvas before you even begin. When that happens, fear wins. A good way to conquer this is to work from big to small. Break it down into shapes, and paint through each part. Looking at the pieces as opposed to the whole can keep it manageable. Keeping a list of what the next steps are as you go along is also a good practice to keep you on task, since you’ll always know where you left off and where to begin again. This is a great way to keep a handy step by step guide right in front of you.
Another roadblock I see my students facing is when they compare themselves to other artists. Comparison is an artist trap, knowing the signs and root causes is the best way to get over this obstacle. We need to free ourselves from this killjoy. Knowing who you are and where you want to go as an artist is a good way to overcome this. If we are honest with ourselves, we feel afraid that we’re not enough. All this insecurity leads to needing constant validation. Comparison will leave you with lack of joy, artist block, resentment, insecurity, and so much more! A good way to overcome this bad trigger is to set goals, make a plan of action and just go with it! Stop looking at other artists and comparing yourself! You were uniquely made, and no one can paint like you! Tell your story and use that as fuel in your artwork.
“It’s not just about creativity, it is about the person you’re becoming while you’re creating.”
My mom used to always tell me the only way to get through it is to do it. She was right about that. I use that in my life and art. Keep producing, painting, and searching for inspiration. Get into community; this will help you overcome obstacles, challenge you through the rough patches, and you will be surrounded by artists just like you with similar insecurities and struggles to fight.
There is strength in numbers, and community helps you get through obstacles faster than going at it alone. We aren’t meant to walk this road alone. I thought that learning to be an entrepreneur was going to take away from my artistic abilities, but it did the complete opposite. It enabled me to add yet another tool to my toolbox to be able to have success when it came to sharing my message and helping others on their journey. Mindset is, and will always make or break you. Having the right mindset to position ourselves for success is crucial in all we do.