Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sort of like reading your own resume . . .

In the past, I went through a lot of ups and downs, doubting my skills on multiple levels. When things really seemed black, I simply read my own resume. Since no one ever includes the bad stuff, resumes make us feel we can walk on water.

After reading what an incredibly talented person I was, and all that I'd done so far in my life, I felt much better, more self-confident, more worthy.

Same thing in art. This morning I was working on a series of images and they just weren't "right" yet. Uh-oh. I'm a crappy artist. I have no new ideas. Look at that person's work. Look at what he's doing. I'm a failure. I'll never create anything unique again.

I don't have an artist's resume to fall back on, a listing of feel-good artsy accomplishments. So I went to my next-best thing -- my artist board on Pinterest.

I post my work there from time to time, always linking it back to Fine Art America. Do any sales result? I don't know. I just like having it there for people to see. And, apparently, for me to see.

So I looked. And I saw work I didn't even remember making. And I loved what I was seeing! All of a sudden I realized hell yes -- I have an incredible body of work. And it's good. And it's different. And it helped me see the bigger picture, comparing this body of work created over time rather than a couple hours of work this morning, seemingly going nowhere.

And as I wrote this, a single coyote walked out of the trees, gleaming a pale, silvery grey, fat and healthy and wary. Coyote looked around and then turned and melted back into the trees. Significant? Probably.

Like the trickster coyote, the shape-shifter coyote, my mind can play tricks on me, making me doubt, conjuring up feelings of inadequacy.

And now I know how to make those doubts melt back into the trees -- Pinterest! Pinterest to the rescue!

Bottom line? Our work as artists, as photographers, takes place over time. One photo taken this morning does not define your work nor your worth. It's what you do over time. I suggest taking a look back at your work right now, whether you have it on Flickr, on Pinterest, at a stock agency, on a blog, wherever. Look at all you have done. Look at the wonderful things you've created. And know that art doesn't happen all at once. It's a process. It's a journey. Never a destination.

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh. Thank you!