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The Positives

Last night I said I would look at my work over the last (almost) year to find the positives. I am horribly hard on myself. As I said last night criticism sticks in our brains, it’s a scientific fact. What the piece about criticism I watched on Sunday Morning failed to address was whether our own criticism of ourselves sticks as well. I am here to say in my own private not so scientific study ( which means I talked to myself, Dan and our friend Lori), we do hang on to our own criticism. I think we are harder on ourselves than anyone else. But that begs the question why? Are we innately self-critical? Or are we the product of societies influences? Obviously mass media has a great influence, as do our parents, our friends, our teachers, the list could continue. How does it start? I again will make assumptions. My Mom spoiled my Dad horribly, I think Dan would be happy to agree that I do the same thing. I learned it from my Mom. My Mom was also very insecure…ditto. I knew that as I headed into motherhood. I tried my best to instill confidence in my kids. Did I succeed? Yes and no. Why? Because my children grew up watching me. I was very nobly self-sacrificing, not such a good example to set. That is why I am now on this journey of self-discovery that I should have been on twenty years ago. (Kids, if you’re listening, take time for yourself. Giving all of yourself away no matter how well-intentioned sets a terrible example, and in the end everyone pays.)

Has anyone noticed that I’m avoiding the question at hand? The homework I assigned myself? In my defense I will again explain the Catholic thing. I feel guilty if I feel like I’m bragging. If my history serves me right the original verse reads, Our Father who art in heaven, guilt is part of the game, Thy forbids some fun…oh come on, I’m just kidding. ( I’ve served my time, thirteen years of parochial school, I’m entitled.) Anyway, here goes….

I have discovered that I have a real talent for pen and ink.

My work is so much more alive, more textured, richer. I discovered how much I enjoy working with just a palette knife.

I’m actually finishing pieces. For so many years I left work half done in fear of being judged. This is one where I still struggle a bit, but again, acknowledging the problem is part of the solution.

If I actually take my time (and give myself the time) I can do some really nice work.

I’ve heard so many people say how hard watercolor is. I find it incredibly easy and enjoyable.

That very nasty word, perspective. It’s getting better, and more than that, I’m getting less hung up on it.

My biggest accomplishment is that I no longer feel like I need to be a human copy machine. Art is meant to be expressive, not replace a photograph.

These days I’m struggling on so many levels because of other stuff going on in my life, but I’m still doing this every single day.

As I try to write these positives, I find the little voice on my head saying, “But what about….?” The voice of “Not good enough” is making a case for herself, dropping negative bombs in my brain. Not today. Enforced self-esteem, that’s what I need.

Tonight a watercolor. New issue of Country Living arrived in the mail, this painting is inspired by a photo in the magazine.3 3 14

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