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Silencing your inner critic

Having painted for over 20 years and taught art for over a decade, I fully understand how mental attitude is crucial for happiness and progress in your painting.

So what is normal in the art process, and how to cope with it?


First a few honest truths

It is myth that all good artists are born a master. Good artists become good because they are curious, resilient and work at improving their craft.

The more you practise, the better you will become.


Practise your Craft

Professional artists who are challenging themselves make many mistakes and for every exhibition piece there are several that sit in corner or get painted over again.

“One must spoil as many canvases as one succeeds with.” —Vincent van Gogh, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, November 26, 1889, to Theo van Gogh

If I am trying a new concept or experimenting with an area that I find challenging, then I usually get the breakthrough after 2 real stinkers. But it is only after doing those 2 that the penny drops and I start to get it.

That is what makes an artist an artist- the resilience to hang onto a nugget of good work and develop this nugget into a piece of gold. The curiosity to experiment and to see where a mark or colour way will lead. Be open minded and never give up on your ability to paint.


Persistence Pays off!

You will go through the painting process many times as you develop your style and develop your ideas, and some days this will feel like a leap forward and some days you will feel like you have been setback – this is a normal (and I think quite addictive )part of the painting journey …

Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.” ― Pablo Picasso


Be kind to yourself.

Saying to yourself  that ‘this looks awful, I don’t know what I am doing’ will only block your inner eye, and gets in the way of the artistic process.

Better to say to yourself say to yourself that ‘this will work, I am proud of myself for making time to paint, everything I do is valuable experience’

Focus on your art work and get involved and feel the strokes or the colours and connect with the decision making- do not question your inner motive but follow it and fully engage with each mark that you make.


Being able to copy a photo exactly is not the be all and end all of art.

Painting from imagination, abstract art, plein air, these all take courage, so if you are doing this give yourself a pat on the back.


Finally, be proud that you are creating art, you are an artist – and remember that it is for you, it is at your own pace, and it is your own unique journey.

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