You’ve been doing quite a bit of painting.
In your painting nook. All alone.
And you’re not that happy with the results. Your inner critic is all over your paintings, and you don’t feel you’re improving much.
If this is you, then taking this one step can REALLY help:
SHARE your paintings (with the RIGHT people)
This is for a couple of reasons:
There’s nothing so encouraging as receiving a positive comment or response from someone about a painting you’ve done or are working on. It can be the thing to boost your confidence, to spur you on to your next painting, or the thing to give you the strength to pull a painting out of the rubbish bin and finish it off!
So having a supportive friend or partner will make a world of a difference to your efforts to improve your skills. And it can be even more rewarding to receive feedback from someone else who is also learning.
If you choose the right people to share your work with, you can also benefit from receiving some ‘corrective feedback’ in the form of supportive tips and pointers for where to improve your current and future paintings.
This can then inform your practice sessions and really bring your work on in leaps and bounds.
Where do you find people who can help you?
Check out your area for informal art clubs where people get together without an instructor just to paint, draw and share artwork together. Online there are websites that are ‘safe’ troll-free spaces for sharing your work and receiving encouragement – my online school is one of them.
Please share others in the comments below!
Ok, but the thought of sharing is SO scary!
Why is that?
Well, it’s a sign that painting is really important to you. Which is actually a good thing.
And sharing makes you vulnerable to criticism which can be scary but is ultimately a good thing:
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”
How to get the courage to share
Try this one tip: instead of focusing on your own feelings, try stepping outside of yourself to think of what sharing your work can mean to others.
Your painting won’t be perfect, but by sharing it’s imperfection you help others who see it to realise that it’s OK for their paintings to be imperfect too. You encourage them and spur them on to paint more and share more. Looking at it from this perspective; from what you stand to give rather than what you might lose can do wonders for your bravery.
What some of my marvelous School members have said about sharing:
“I always think my paintings are not good enough. I didn’t realize that sharing them and gaining feedback would give me the confidence and motivation to keep painting. Had I not shared my paintings I might have given up.”
Barbara Kulas – GA, USA
“Self doubt is a big hurdle to get over for someone new to painting, or even ones not so new! By offering paintings up for critique to fellow School members and friends you receive recognition for your efforts and encouragement, these are great confidence boosters. Self doubt starts to recede… Happy painting!”
Lorraine Damm – Mannum, Australia
“I rely on the feedback from other trusted painters and friends to improve my work. They see it with fresh eyes and help me know where my painting is strong and where it needs work. They bring their lifetime of experience and observation. While I feel a bit vulnerable hearing their suggestions, I am more confident that my painting will become better than I could have made it alone.”
Linda Shumaker – CA, USA
“I am a firm believer in the saying “we learn from our mistakes”. If no one tells you that you are making a mistake you will continue to make the same mistake over and over again. Receiving feedback from other students has helped enormously to boost my confidence when it has been slipping and introduced me to friends all over the world. Creativity is contagious in a good way. It heals the soul, calms the mind and brings joy to those around you.”
Margaret Orchard – Norfolk, UK
I hope this helps give you the courage to share your paintings with the right people in the right places to help you develop as a painter.
Please share your own sharing experiences, and any good places to share your work online, in the comments below.