Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The critic

She lives inside of me. When I look in the mirror, all she sees are the flaws - a chubby belly, every single wrinkle and blemish, limp hair, a crooked smile. When I go out in public, she has something to criticize about what I say or what I don't say. She's hard on me, and makes me doubt myself. When I enter the studio, she tells me I have no right to think I can paint or draw. She asks me who I think I am - to spend time believing myself to be an artist. She is the loudest before I begin. Sometimes, her voice paralyzes me. She lends an air of uncertainty to every line, every brushstroke. Even when I have done well, she tells me not to get too excited. There must have been a mistake. It won't last.

Who is she? She is my inner critic.

No matter how much criticism I may get from others, no one knows me the way she does. What she tells me hurts the most. Maybe because she knows me so well, and knows what I am capable of. She is honest, and for that reason I can't ignore her completely. She is there even when I sit down to write, that busy lady. There is her voice in my ear, "You aren't a writer! What do you think you are doing? No one is reading your blog. Give up now." She really does say things like that.

Over time, I have learned to tune out much of what she says. It is the only way I can create art. I push her to the back of my head, and play music to drown out her voice. However, I have also learned there is a reason I have her. Her voice is what spurs me on to be better. She has prompted me time and time again to see my shortcomings and to try to improve upon them. She propels me forward. Without her challenging voice, I may not have pushed myself into higher levels of achievement, both as an artist and as a human being. We are now even on friendly terms. (Well, sometimes anyway.) I recognize my need for her. But I have learned to identify when to listen to her and when to turn up the music.

Do you have one of these? If you do, then you know exactly what I am talking about. Maybe you too have learned some of the things I have about that voice in your head. Perhaps you even have helpful thoughts to add to what I have learned. If so, please share!

In other news, I just want to take a moment to thank EVERYONE who came to my studio last weekend during the Art Tours. I had my best event ever, and it is because of you. I am grateful you took the time to drive down our bumpy, dusty road to see my new work. You took the time to give me your feedback, and many of you found something you loved and bought my art. WOW. I am blown away. Thank you! (There's also a heartfelt thank you to those of you who came before the Art Tours and bought something from me. You know who you are.) Many of my blogger friends who are far away sent me messages of encouragement. I am including all of you in my gratitude. You are all important to me - I couldn't keep painting without all of your support! Mahalo to you all!

Two of THIRTY ONE paintings that went to good homes over the weekend:
"Heat Tolerant I." Collage, acrylic and oil on canvas, 8 x 8 inches. ©Karine Swenson2012 

"Heat Tolerant II." Collage, acrylic and oil on canvas, 8 x 8 inches.  ©Karine Swenson2012
Happy Halloween!

1 comment:

Nicole Hyde said...

Oh I have one alrighty! Some days she's way too opinionated. I just try to ride her out, way until she's too tired to squawk at me anymore, and then pick up the pieces and keep going. Some days are easier than others. :-)