The picture on the left features a painting I did when I was 14. I remember painting it on my kitchen counter one afternoon, and feeling so proud of myself when I was done. I felt it was the first time I truly saw what I was capable of painting, and I never thought I would be able to ever paint anything better. I used six colors (most of them glitter paints), one brush, and a sponge to paint it. It took about two hours to complete. It was the first time I can remember losing myself in a painting: drowning out the world and letting the creativity consume me. I went into that painting without any idea on what to paint. I just let the brush guide me instead of me guiding the brush. That painting was my proudest possession for years afterward, because I figured nothing I created would ever amount to that painting. It hung over my bed for years, and I would often stare at it thinking about much I loved it, but also wishing I could paint something that good again.
Six years later, I still feel a sliver of pride when I look at it, however I am more surprised of how much my paintings have evolved. I have painted numerous paintings and have also tried my hand at drawing and sketching. I don’t paint as often as I used to, and when I do my perfectionist tendencies often get in the way. (I’m working on it). But when my paintings turned out, I get this weird feeling of pride and happiness.
The picture on the right is my latest painting completed a little over a week ago. Again, when I look at this, I can’t help but feel a little proud of myself, especially when I think about how far I’ve come. The entire painting was done free hand and took about three weeks to complete. Granted, I didn’t work on it everyday, but it definitely took more time than the one I painted in 8th grade. It turned out much better than I thought it would, and my roommate liked it so much, she wanted to hang it in our living room, which is where it is now.
Looking at these two pictures side by side has made me realize a few things about art. First of all, don’t set yourself in the belief that you have reached your full potential. I mean this in art and in life. You can always improve if you chose to. Secondly, art is hard because your toughest critic is always you. No one else can see the picture in you head that you are trying to create, so no one else can compare your art to this idea of perfection. So focus on the positives of what people are saying: your art is probably much better than you think it is. Most importantly, don’t stop creating. No matter how good or bad the end result is, never stop creating things. Your creativity is a huge part of what makes you you, so don’t lose it. Let’s keep creating beautiful things together and make the world a more beautiful place.
(Step-by-step instructions on how to complete The Dark Heart painting coming soon)