The Pain and Joy of Artistic Confidence

The great artist Henri Matisse said:

creativity takes courage

Artists need courage every day. They face conflicts in their work and criticism in their reactions to the process. Unwavering confidence might be interpreted as cocky, being judged or having your work dismissed plants painful seeds of doubt.

We all want our efforts to be appreciated. We hope for success – certainly financial, but also in recognition of our craft. An artist walks that line of vulnerability daily: the blank canvas on the easel can be both exhilarating and terrifying.

It takes confidence to follow your purpose, and firm resolve to battle conflicting emotions. One day you may be your own biggest fan and the next your harshest critic.

 Artists persist because their work is who they are. When ideas and inspiration flow easily the joy is indescribable. When we struggle, it’s painful and frustrating. 

Great artists find a balance and hold on to the dream with absolute confidence.

Van Gogh sold just ONE painting (The Red Vineyard) during his lifetime, yet he produced over 900 paintings before his death. Can’t you imagine how painful it was to have his talent go unrecognized or to never achieve financial rewards over his lifetime of creating art?

He shrugged off the pain, and continued to believe in himself and his purpose, confident that his art would someday speak more eloquently than words ever could.  His joy came in creating the work and he embraced it with confidence.

When we worry too much about how other people will receive our art work, it’s no longer something that we do for ourselves, and that takes the joy out of it. Get back in touch with the sheer joy of painting, if only for the selfish reason that it makes you happy. 

We spend too much time asking ourselves if we are good enough. 

Be confident:  the answer is yes.

How do you deal with criticism? Has it ever been helpful and motivating?

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