So when I decided to apply to the program in France, I decided to complete 6 mind-blowingly awesome paintings to send with my scholarship application. I thought, I’m going to apply all of the knowledge I’ve ever learned into these 6 pieces, and they are going to be amazing and then they’ll just have to let me in.
There are just a few flaws with this train of thought:
1. I felt like I had to be completely amazing for them to even consider me. I felt inadequate and out of my league from the get go.
2. That is a lot of pressure on 6 paintings. A LOT.
3. It blocks me from painting for myself. I am painting to impress someone else.
It means that as I’m finishing paintings, and they’re not mind-boggling masterpieces that you’d swear came from the hand of Leonardo da Vinci himself, I’m getting depressed. And discouraged. Because I’ve set my standards so impossibly high.
I mean, I’m applying to a school. I wouldn’t even need to go there if I was Leonardo da Vinci. They’re looking for potential, not perfection.
But I went into this with the attitude that I already had strikes against me – I’m young, I haven’t done any official art studies, and I haven’t been painting from life every single second of my career.
I feel like I have to blow them away, or else they’ll just laugh at me. No, really. There are a bunch of artists who live in my head who often laugh at my completed pieces. “You think that’s good?” they say, and then begin to guffaw till tears stream down their faces.
I feel so young, and so incredibly inexperienced. I feel entirely out of my depth – an itty bitty fish in a gigantic shark-infested ocean.
And none of this is helping me to finish paintings.
Despite that, I’m almost done. Call it bloody-minded determination, but even if I’m crawling, I’ll still get to the damned finish line. There are only 2 pieces left to finish, and one of them’s only missing a head. (Yeah…don’t ask.) The other is at maybe 60-70% completed. I can get it done. I know I can.
But the question is, can I get it done with joy? With love of the process? And without worrying about what an adjudicator in France is going to think in 4 days time?
My goal is to send it in by Friday at 5pm. My bigger goal though? Is to send in 6 paintings & drawings that I created for me. Not for someone else. I’m feeling tired & burnt out because I’ve been pushing myself hard, and judging myself harder.
What I need more than anything this week is a dose of kindness. I need some compassion for myself for feeling out of my league, some kindness for how hard I’ve tried. And maybe some self-love in there too, for dreaming big enough to even try.