It’s Only Paint and Paper, Right? Or is it?

woman holding mixed media tags

There’s something that’s been on my mind a lot lately.

Imagine if making art felt like a cheerleading best friend was looking over your shoulder. How would that change your art practice?

How can you cultivate a friendly internal voice while making art? We often say, hey, who cares if we make a mistake. It’s only paint on paper, right? As if we should just plow forward and dismiss our inner critic so easily and whittle down our creative process to being merely paint and paper.

To me, that’s kinda like saying a love note is only pen on paper, right? But, of course, we don’t feel that way.

If my husband writes something sweet on a card, I’m not going to tell myself it’s only pen on paper. That’d be so weird and, honestly, it’s just not true! Those words mean something!

Likewise, so does your art. It’s not just paint on paper. It’s self-expression, self-exploration, skills, practice, knowledge, lots of feelings, hopes, and longings, and other things that go into it.

Perhaps it’s better to sit with uncomfortable feelings and allow them to be there, remembering that art is a friend!

Practice imagining your art personified as a friendly entity. What would the qualities of that friend be? Passionate? Curious? Cheerying you on? Serine and calm? Whatever that is, pull THAT friendly art persona close to you.

  • Do you ever feel stuck?
  • Are you sick of making what you make?
  • Do you create for other people and want space for yourself?
  • You want to feel free while making art?
  • Have you turned your back on your creativity in some way?

Next time you feel smothered with expectations, not good enough, or just a general yucky sense around your art practice, reach for that friendship piece. Pull it close. Let it be a friendly force that carries you through good times, is with you in bad times, and can sit and wait for you when you are stuck, busy, or bored.

It’s all good. Your art is your friend!

If you’re looking for some practical tips, come check out THIS POST on Fear of the Blank Page be Gone! 3 Tips For How to Get Back Into Your Art Journal.

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