We all know that the internet has it’s positive and negative aspects. However, one big positive is that there is room on the internet for everyone’s art. It doesn’t matter what type of art it is either. There are no requirements (okay, maybe file size limitations set out by the site you are posting to). If you create it, you can share it. I guess I shouldn’t be constantly amazed by the volume of artwork that has been created and shared online by artists from every nook and cranny around the globe.
So why do I add my art to the mix? I am not totally sure. But I know posting my art started after I was repeatedly asked for my Instagram address. My what? I had no idea what Instagram was or how to use it.
But it became clear that if I created an account and shared my Instagram address it was an easy way to share my work without having to send emails to people that wanted to see it. It never dawned on me that strangers could see it too. When that happened, it was a bit intimidating and I had great reservations about not being good enough to be posting my work.
You see, 99% of my coloring is done in the privacy of my home. When I started my coloring adventure, I would finish a project and post it to the website where I was attending an online class. I waited with anxious anticipation to see the reaction to my work. It was great. It was positive. It motivated me to want to do more. Thank goodness for that because it kept me on this path until I had officially become passionate about coloring. So much so that I realized that I had a desire to create art with a touch of realism.
Then it happened, I got brave enough to attend a coloring retreat. I can’t tell you how scared I was. I hadn’t colored in the presence of anyone. Based on what I've posted online, what if the others attending think I can color on demand, no mistakes? What if I can’t do the retreat projects? What if I must pick my own colors for the projects? These thoughts nearly stopped me from going. Thankfully the experience didn’t kill me. I had a wonderful time, met, and made colorful art friends. And, once again, was given a great deal of positive feedback and encouragement that kept me coloring.
If I am getting positive feedback, why did I break out in a nervous sweat before I posted a project online (yes, even to this day it can happen)? I just checked my Instagram account and I’ve posted over 500 pieces since 2017. Wouldn’t you think by now it would be second nature for me? Then it hit me. The reason I can still break out in that nervous sweat before sharing a project online is because I am afraid of being judged. Of course I love the adulation that posting a piece might bring, but I hate being vulnerable to negative judgement. We all know that there are people in the world that can say negative things about anything. But when it about my artwork it's hard to not to take it personally instead of objectively.
The funny thing is that during my first couple of years of posting my work I can only remember one time that I received a negative comment on a completed class project. But I remember it because it nearly torpedoed my art adventure. You see I posted a project I was proud of and thought I absolutely nailed it. But the teacher saw it for what it was. After getting over the shock of the critique, I was able to read the comments objectively and finally see what the instructor was seeing. I went right back to coloring and continued posting my finished projects. The lesson here for me was that it is in the honest judgement of my artwork that I can learn to see it from a different perspective and to adjust as needed.
I say “adjust as needed” because another lesson I’ve learned during this adventure is that we all see art with our own unique vision. Just because I like something doesn’t mean you will. Just because you think I shouldn’t have drawn a third eye on this portrait might mean that you missed the Picasso like style I was going for. However, hearing what you don’t like about that third eye might make me rethink things and do a little editing and the result will undoubtedly be a much better piece of art than if I had not listened and considered the feedback.
We can take critiques (especially from total strangers) or leave them. But taken in the right light, they can become a valuable assessment tool to help us see and assess our projects more objectively.
It is true, when I post my projects my hope is that people that view it will like it. That they might be moved by something I’ve done. But if not, it’s okay. I put it there because I am pleased with what I created. Plus, posting my work to Instagram is like a free back up plan. Should I lose my hard drive again, I still have all my projects once I get my computer back up and running.
If you have been afraid to post your artwork, I encourage you to rethink that decision. Like I said above, the internet has room for all of us and our art. There are artworks out there done by everyone from the youngest child that can hold a crayon to master artists. I can tell you from experience that you will be surprised to learn that your art or art story is inspiring someone to pick up their first marker or colored pencil and give it a try.
Post your work, be proud, but no matter what, never compare it to others. It’s yours and it’s beautiful. Just keep coloring!
What's happening in the Corner . . .
Has colder weather arrived where you live? Do you find yourself inside trying to stay warm? Why not pick up some knitting needles and start knitting a warm scarf. Hey, hold the presses, we don't knit here in the Corner, we color! So join us this month as we pick up our markers, colored pencils, and/or watercolors and learn to create a knit texture on paper!
If you are reading this after we moved on to the next technique, you can find the Work-at-Your-Own-Pace Practice for Texture:Knit here.
You can see more of my work or follow me on Instagram.