Write like no one is reading: “Perseverance”

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Write like no one is reading:  Perseverance

Backstory:  Recently, I began to think about the traits necessary to keep painting when feeling lethargic about exploring my creative side.  Coincidentally, I’d read an article about the importance of writing, if not for others, than for yourself.  The phrase “dance like no one is watching” popped into my head and I decided to write a blog series exploring 10 traits that I’d identified and to put this into practice…write as if no one is reading.  I find that it’s easy to feel trapped by thinking about other’s opinions more than recognizing my own wishes.  My guess is that others may do the same.  Maybe writing with the idea that no one will read my blog will be “freeing”?  Today’s trait is #7 out of 10.

Perseverance: Another important trait. Why? Because without having perseverance it’s really, really difficult to keep momentum moving forward when struggling. There’s just too many reasons to give up and put away the paint brushes…or in my case, palette knives. I belive one of the biggest obstacle to persevere though is self-doubt.  Or comparing yourself to others…I’ll tackle that topic with the next blog. But when paintings aren’t coming easy or admittance into art shows aren’t granted (and this DOES happen to everyone), it’s easy to question one’s efforts.

I’ve discovered a few ways to work through these times and, of course, it always comes back to my own thought process and the way I “frame” my outlook.  For one thing, I have to remember that I originally began painting for my own enjoyment.  Painting can be relaxing and therapeutic after a long day of work.  I enjoy the process of experimenting with different colors, movements with the palette knife and quite honestly, I enjoy not having a precise plan. Life is full of details. Working as an Administrator for a Rehabilitation Center requires managing details. Being a mom to a teen and young adult requires management of details (and stamina).  For myself, painting is a departure from all that.  So, when I’m unhappy with my painting efforts, I remind myself of the reasons I paint.  Another strategy is to affirm the idea that discovering my own techniques and what I’m proud of is part of my own personal journey.  Often times, when I’m struggling it’s because I’m transitioning to some new phase and I just haven’t arrived yet.  “It’s the journey, not the destination” I remind myself…  And I have to remember to continue for my own satisfaction and not others. And, lastly, when I’m lacking motivation, I examine the true, undebatable facts from the last few years such as actual art sales, art shows and other opportunities that have presented themselves.  The facts alone remind me that there are reasons to persevere with this journey.

The painting above (“Perseverance”) has a lot of layers to it because that particular painting presented one challenge after another.  Eventually, I had to put it away, mull things over, return to the painting and eventually I was pleased with the results. Ironically, it has an appearance of fragile parchment paper despite the many layers underneath.  The fragile appearance deceives its true story.

My “kids” love ice cream.  When they are less than enthusiastic about trying something new, I remind them that if they hadn’t ever tried ice cream, they’d never know the truly ecstasy of Blue Bell Ice cream.  The point being that of course, one needs to continue to try new ideas, things, etc in order to discover some real treats.

Next up on my list of important traits:  Don’t compare yourself…

~Dawn Winter

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