Saturday, 1 December 2012

Five ways to boost your confidence as an amateur artist

Whether you are self-taught, an amateur or a hobbyist, you enjoy creating your art. When you embark on this journey, you don’t necessary have in mind a final destination apart from spending your time doing what you like. Once you start selling and getting invitations from various premises to show your art, you are probably thinking about it as a profession.  But questions like “How does my art compare to others?”, “Who would like it?”, “Is it sufficiently presentable for art galleries and art collectors?” could get in your way. Although it is unlikely to make a living from your art for a few years or so, this shouldn’t be an impediment for people to view your work. Don’t let your self-doubt jeopardize your success. And by success I don’t mean money or fame, but admirers who could become your customers.

Wild Meadow by Teodora Totorean - SOLD

1. Comparing your art with other artists’

While it is OK to look around and familiarise yourself with the art world, comparing your art with others’ could have a negative effect on your willingness to show your creations. Art is supposed to be original, so it is fine if your art is slightly different than anything you see in galleries and exhibitions. Equally, if you find similarities between your art and other artists’, it is also good. It is normal to be inspired by those you admire, yet with practice, you’ll manage to find your own style. If the similarity is a happy coincidence it only means that there are so many themes, scenes and colour combinations that one can use. It may as well be a reassurance that your art could be in that gallery too.

2. Accepting positive criticism

If you are still not sure about your talent, you can join an art society in your town. They may have sessions with critiques of the member’s art so you can get a realistic feedback from experienced artists. Take back to your studio any piece of advice you get, so next time you create something, you’ll see the difference. After all, your aim is to constantly improve your art!

3. Getting your family’s approval

I know you want your family’s approval, but them not being too keen on your art is not necessarily a bad thing. First of all, you have to appreciate their honesty. Secondly, some of the elite artists and critics do say that if your family likes your art, it isn’t good enough. What they mean is that art should be innovative and a mould breaker, it has to make a statement that one’s family may not agree with. It is like a conflict between generations, so don’t take it too personally. Your vision is simply different than theirs. It is the same with politics or fashion.

4.  Listening to people’s opinions

Don’t be put off by people that say “this is not art” when describing something similar with what you create. Art has such a complex meaning that it is impossible to have a definition to please everyone’s taste. Also, people’s opinions are often subjective unless they are art critics who take into consideration all the art movements in history with their individual programmes and tendencies, the diversity of contemporary art plus the preferences of the buyer, those of art collectors, and of galleries. If this is the case, go back to point number two and take on board the expert’s critique.

5. Taking in all the positives

When getting a nice compliment about your art, take it. Don’t spend too much time doubting their reasons like “they know you” or “they don’t want to hurt your feelings”.  Just say “thank you” with a big, honest smile on your face and be happy. 

© Teodora Totorean

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