Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Confidence?

Though some of my blogger friends are very confident about their art and themselves as artists, I know that there are many, me included, who are less confident. I also see a serious lack of confidence in the beginners and less experienced artists who join my art forum. Sometimes I try and find some words of wisdom that might help them be more confident in their work and I am continually trying to find ways of boosting my own confidence levels. (Yeh, I know ... I should practice what I preach).

One thing that has driven itself home to me recently is that you, my blogger friends, always seem to like my work much more than I do, and I have been giving this a great deal of thought. I've concluded that this is simply because you don't know what I was trying to achieve - what mood I'd wanted to create; what small detail isn't as accurate as I'd have liked; what colour has dried darker than I'd intended; what 'rescues' I performed during the painting process; etc, etc. You look at my work and see it as you find it, with no preconceived notions or expectations. I look at my work and compare it pixel by pixel (figuratively speaking) to the image that I held in my minds eye before I reached for my brushes. It seldom measures up.

So I now offer a new definition of the word 'confidence' ....

Confidence: the ability to see your work as others see it.


Changing the subject completely, which I can do because it's my blog, a while ago I decided to make my own Xmas cards this year. I even said so here on my blog ... like an idiot!!!

 I thought about it all through September and most of October and actually made a start around the end of October just before the auditors arrived. Remember them?

Anyway, during the time of the audit I was distracted from really important matters, like art, and my Christmas cards got put on the back burner ... again. So yet again this year, I rush headlong into the festive season with a long list of uncompleted good intentions.

As you know, I've been developing a growing passion for pen work and, just as an experiment, I wanted to see how effectively I could sketch a snow scene using black ink on white paper. I had just finished a watercolour of a 'made up' scene for a possible Xmas card, so tried it again in pen. Both are posted here. Initially I wasn't at all pleased with either version but coming back to them many weeks later I am seeing them through fresh eyes. I'm much happier with both of them but I have to say I was really very pleased with the pen version. I refer to my comments above about 'confidence'.

I'd like to offer both as cyber Christmas Cards to all my blogger friends, old and new. Throughout my blogging experience you've been a constant source of inspiration and encouragement and not once have you said "John, that's crap!!!"  I wish you the most wonderful Christmas ever and I hope good old Santa brings you plenty by way of new Art supplies.
Merry Christmas.


34 comments:

  1. Your cards are both lovely, John....Merry Christmas to you!

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  2. What great Christmas cards...and a Merry Christmas to you John.

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  3. You prefer the lovely pen card..and I prefer the other one. To me it oozes christmas serenity and -spirit. Really love it. And I think you are absolutely right in your considerations. No one will ever tell you that what you do is crap, because it isn't, and you realized that by yourself when you picked these cards up after some time. Suddenly you found them nice and interesting, because you looked at them with 'new' eyes...like your blogger-friends when seeing your works for the first time :-)
    That has got to be the longest comment I ever wrote!
    Wish you a merry Christmas!

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  4. I agree with what you say about 'Confidence' John. I sometimes struggle with a painting and have to rework passages. I might end up with something that looks fine to most people, but it will always be unsatisfactory to me.

    I think confidence comes from being able to recognise mistakes and being able to correct them, but also from recognising that we will often fall short of what we hope to achieve. Our best work is always in the future!

    I hope you have a good Christmas.

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  5. Those are wise words about confidence, John! I love both Christmas cards. Merry Christmas to you!

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  6. Your sentiments about confidence I think are felt by most of us. My work seldom comes out as I imagined it in my head. Sometimes I'm happy with the result though. Your painted Christmas card is charming. It oozes seasons greetings.
    All the best.
    Jean

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  7. We are all perfectionists, every one.
    We are kinder to friends than we are to ourselves. But we're all on a journey and each day finds us further than we were yesterday. Remember that and be kind to yourself. Even when it only seems problematic, you are still learning.
    Beautiful Christmas cards, both good for different reasons. I like the warmth of the light from the windows best, showing us the way home.
    Thank you for the virtual cards, enjoy your Christmas - and God bless us, every one xx

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  8. John, what I love about your blog is that you so often make me laugh!
    Like you, I was also full of intentions of personal Christmas cards and printed calendars, but yet again it hasn't happened!
    I love your Christmas card. I only prefer the coloured version because I love the warmth that is coming from inside the windows from that lovely yellow colour.
    I agree entirely with how you define confidence. That makes absolute sense to me! Have a wonderful Christmas! :0)

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  9. Lovely Christmas cards John, and yes, your words are so true, we as artist always strive to do better. But oh what fun it is to play, with new art supplies. Merry Christmas to you John, love your work.

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  10. Thank you very much Carol, I appreciate it.

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  11. Jane, I am honoured to be the recipient of your longest comment and I really appreciate what you have written, thank you.

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  12. Keith said "Our best work is always in the future!".

    Thank goodness for that .... I thought I'd missed it. lol.

    Keith, it's reassurring to think that someone of your calibre, which I hold in such high esteem, actually 'struggles' and has to rework passages. You're work is always so fresh looking. ;-)

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  13. John, speaking as someone who has struggled with confidence of late, confidence (or the lack of it) can knock you back and hinder your true potential. So in future I will remember your new definition of the word in a crisis!
    I like your colour version of a Christmas card the best, which is much in keeping with the festive season.

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  14. Thank you Jean. I think I'd be much more confident if I could paint like you. All the best.

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  15. Pat, I so agree with you. I've always said that I learn more from my problematic efforts than those that run smoothly. Thank you for your lovely comment.

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  16. Sandra!!! What's this? No home made Xmas cards!!! Shame on you. I hope you do better next year. lol. You're always such a joy and I look forward to every one of your visits. Take care. ;-)

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  17. Thank you Joan, I appreciate that very much. I hope Santa brings you plenty of new arty things to play with. Enjoy.

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  18. Frank, I've been there often and have never really overcome my lack of confidence. Merely put a brave face on. Yes, it does knock us back which is why we have to do our best to rise above it and look at things through the eye's of others. It's good to see you painting again. All the best.

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  19. These are nice Christmas cards John. Nice that the light from the House to outside shines. That gives a pleasant sight. I keep always uncertain about my work, but at some point you just need to stop and accept how it's become. Ruining otherwise your work and that is a pity.

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  20. Renske, your work is so good it is hard to imagine you having any doubts over how it's going to turn out. Thank you for your lovely comment, I appreciate it. ;-)

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  21. Brilliant definition John. Now (speaking as Mr No Confidence 1961-2011) I am confident that I know what confidence means ... LOL. I love both cards ... but prefer the watercolour (naturally). Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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  22. Glad you like the definition Michael. I feel so much more confident since I defined it. Think I'll try and define 'Ability' next. LOL.

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  23. John,, your watercolor card is warm and cosy, but surprisingly I like the pen drawing, if you were sending me one, that's mine. lol !
    As to the issue of confidence your talking to the Queen of lack of confidence, it took me about 20 years (really) to exhibit and show my work.. and I'm still not sure, but your definition is knocking on my door. love it ..BJ
    BJ

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  24. John ...these Christmas cards are both awesome! I regret not painting my own Christmas cards BUT there's always next year..MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family!!!

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  25. Well said. I like to say that certain paintings haven't met my expectations although, I do not reveal this to my viewers any longer. You are completely correct in your observation that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", to use a famous phrase.
    It's true.
    The Christmas cards are both lovely and Merry Christmas to you!

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  26. I have just awardes you the versatile blogger award! Happy blogging.

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  27. Thank you BJ. It seems that more artists lack confidence than I ever expected. Your work is always outstanding so please never worry about showing it.

    Hilda, I hope you do paint your own cards next year and I'm looking forward to seeing them on your blog. Thank you.

    Mary, how lovely of you to visit my blog. Thank you very much.

    Oh Renske, I am honoured. Thank you very much.

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  28. both are simply lovely john. and i can relate to the confidence conundrum. i think you hit the nail on the head. our vision of what we were trying to do vs those of folks with no expectations. hmmmm. great insight!

    a very merry christmas and a joyous and creative new year to you and yours!

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  29. Kudos to you for doing not 1 but 2 cards . I on the other hand have let another year pass without even 1 :? So I wish you a happy Christmas & arty new year.

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  30. Thank you Suzanne, it's taken me a long time to figure it out. lol. Merry Christmas.

    Sue, I guess there's always next year, eh? Merry Christmas.

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  31. Must have stumbled past this post. Just saw it now! I love your painted Christmas-card. Warm christmas feeling, and the ice hanging down from the roof.It´s just lovely! Make some prints from this one and send to your friends next christmas. I´m sure they will be happy to get one! I like the drawing too, but the painted one is my favourite because of the warm christmas felling. Take care now!

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  32. Thank you very much Catharina, I may well do that.
    Take care.

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