Like I mentioned in my last video, I kind of promised myself that this year I would study more, practice more, be more of a student.
Even though learning has been bringing me so much anxiety lately, I am determined to learn how to slow down my thoughts, slow down my automatic reactions, slow down my life in general.
I decided to start filming my studies. Filming them forces me to really think before I make a mark on the paper. It forces me to think about what I want to capture. It forces me to stop myself in the process to change camera angles. That could be hurting my creative flow, but honestly, if it makes me take it easy instead of rushing through the process, I’ll take it.
I have developed this habit of rushing through everything. For some reason, my brain only gets a kick with a finished product, and that’s a recipe for unhappiness, especially if you’re an artist.
Art is all about process.
It is experimenting, making mistakes, learning what works and what doesn't.
It is a practice. And the finished product is only a consequence of that practice and that process.
If you only feel pleasure when you finally finish a piece, then most of your time is spent trying to get somewhere and never really enjoying yourself while you create.
How can an artist be happy this way? Every new piece you create becomes an old piece and the excitement ends, pretty soon.
I noticed I’ve been feeling this way because of social media. I let social media rush me into posting frequently, and never truly enjoying the process.
Finished piece after finished piece, rushing to be posted, anticipating the likes and comments, and never feeling truly connected to any of them. Never developing a relationship with the work, because I was not really THERE.
And that is sad. That isn’t the job of an artist. I don’t think that is art at all.
But what is and what isn’t art is not the topic.
I realized I needed a change in mindset, and I needed to put that into practice right away. I’ve been miserable in my art for a few years and when the pandemic started, everything imploded. I almost gave up a couple of times. But I kept reflecting on why I was feeling that way, and I never gave up reflecting on it.
I came to the conclusion that my dopamine kick in art had shifted to the wrong place.
And everything started to lose balance. It took me a while to pinpoint what was bothering me so much. I wish you could do a blood test and have the diagnosis right there. “Your dopamine is going to the wrong place, miss. Take this vitamin, drink this tea and you’ll be fine.” But it doesn't work like that.
It takes a shift in mentality. My mind was conditioned to please social media platforms and not myself. Not even my people there. Just the algorithms. And that needs a change.
I decided to practice patience.
Without it, no artists would have survived, every one of them would have dropped out right out of the bat. Practice patience. Being patient with myself for needing time in a world that pushes us forward like a train station in the rush hour. If you resist, you’ll be squashed, you’ll be crushed by the world.
But even though that feeling is real, I don’t think I’ll be crushed if I slow down. To me slowing down is easier than rushing, but I got so used to doing that that I forgot how to take my time. And I forgot how to connect with my work.
I forgot that creating is process and patience and a relationship that you are building with your creation.
I lost track of what is really important.
Practicing patience can take you far.
One step at a time.
One study at a time.
Having patience in the process, looking at it with kindness, staying calm along the way. These are things that not only my art needs but my mental health too.
So here’s to an easier, slower, more patient 2022 - and life.