Sunday, January 30, 2011

Art Matters.

There is an artist that resides in all of us. There is also a loud-mouthed critic. Sometimes the voice of the critic shouts down your desire to create. It tells you your art is dumb. It whispers that you should give up, that no one wants to see your art, that you might as well just buy some mass-produced print at Walmart rather than hanging something YOU made on your wall.

I'm close neighbours with my inner critic. But as I get older, I am learning to ignore that voice. I don't intend to sell my art. I don't foist it on friends as gifts that they'll feel obligated to display. I might make a wee picture on a card to be mailed, and am not concerned with what becomes of it once viewed by the recipient.

I used to have lots of fun with watercolours, when I was single and had the time. I painted little things like this:
Thistle-down fairies at play...

This is delightfully tiny, created specifically for this yard-sale frame.

At a recent artistic retreat, I attended a workshop called "Knocking on Hidden Doors". We discussed the images that arise from our subconscious, and the practice of meditating before creating in order to tap into that deep inner stillness for inspiration.

I spent the first hour of the workshop trying to shush my critic. I found myself searching desperately for that deep, symbolic image I would paint. Finally, in surrender, I just started to create. This is what came out:

Each item on the clothesline represents one member of my family (the red Y-fronts are my husband's). Interestingly enough, I realised afterwards that I had SIX items of clothing on there, instead of five...

Art does not always need to represent something. And sometimes, when you think it doesn't, it does. These two images represent what is most important in my life: my home (gardens and animals), and my family. They are simplistic and whimsical, and bring me pride and delight each time I look at them. I may see about getting them printed on notecards, I like them so much!

Hush up, inner critic. I'm going to create in spite of you.


  1. I LOVE your little pictures and can totally see them on notecards. Put a sock in it, inner critic, there is art waiting to be created.

  2. Such loveliness & whimsy! Good for you for shushing that inner critic -- I pay attention to it far too often. But when I listen to my heart and honour that quieter voice of creativity, wow... it's such an empowering and blissful feeling!

  3. So does the sixth item of clothing represent your inner critic or another baby on the way!!?? :o)

  4. The clotheline and the chicken drawings reminded me of pictures I have seen on your blog about your house/life. They are totally you. And they are beautiful. The art you create is for you, so who care what the critic says? Let it be an activity that is all about making you happy, and then it won't matter what the inner critic says (I wish there was a way to turn that stupid inner critic off for good :)

    Looking forward to seeing more art work :)

  5. i'd say you gave it to your inner critic because those wee pictures are absolutely lovely.

  6. I love your art! Thankyou for your kind words today. They made my day:)

  7. I've been bullied by my inner critic lately, discouraging my shy artistic voice. Maybe this will give me the courage to shout that bully down!!!!

  8. Love your artwork! I have a large painting that my 3 year old made on a canvas above our couch. The first thing one of our extended family member's said upon entering our living room one day was "I hope you didn't pay a lot for that." So I guess critics are everywhere but luckily, "it's not the critic who counts."

  9. Well you can just foist your wonderful artwork on me any day, my friend. Please? It would be a treasure to have such folksy pieces on display. I would tell everybody that, "It's a Stephanie...get ready for it...Original."

    Yes, you've left us hanging there with that SIX pieces of clothing...


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