Updated: Nov 24, 2020
You know you love art. Since as far as you can remember, you've always felt connected with art in some way, but maybe never pursued it professionally as life got in the way. Nevertheless, whenever you see something creative, something colorful, something intricate, you get drawn to it. You want to look at its beauty and admire the perfection that the artist created. Sometimes you get inspired and feel like making something similar yourself. Then you try it with whatever supplies and resources you have, but somehow you are not able to create what you wanted. The colors, the strokes, the blending didn't come out as you expected. You feel you are not good enough. You don't have the skills; you don't have the creativity. You see the work of other artists and you feel that you'll never be able to do what they do. But you still yearn to create something and maybe after a few unsuccessful attempts, you complete a piece that you are happy with. You get that rush of looking at something beautiful that you created. You can’t stop admiring it. It’s your baby. But you are still not confident enough to show it to an audience. I know far too many people who are at a stage in life where they feel that their work is just not good enough to display in front of people – especially the self-taught artists. I was one of them. I never studied art professionally, so I always thought that I did not get the right kick-start as I do not know the technicalities of art. I attended art workshops and exhibitions and always felt awe when I looked at all the trained artists painting in front of people, not worrying about anything. I never thought that I would ever feel confident enough to put myself out there. And life went on.
My life was good, and although, I was doing well professionally, I never felt like I had accomplished something. There was a gap in what I wanted to be and what I was. Two years back when I was in Japan, I came across the concept of “Ikigiai” and I realized that art is the only thing that makes me truly happy and allows me to enter my state of “flow” where I do not think about anything else, but just enjoy the moment. While creating art, I lose all track of time, stress, troubles, hunger, external noise, and anger. I understood that, if I wish to feel better and complete, I must pursue my passion and give it a little more attention. So, I decided to start my pursuit and painted whenever possible – I aimed to paint something daily. I did not have much training in art so I scoured through hundreds of online videos and sites to learn the tricks and create something on my own. With no guidance, it took a lot of hit and trial, frustrating moments, and crushed papers in the dustbin, but finally, I got to experience some amazing moments. I’ve been trying hard since then, and finally, I have reached a place where I have been enjoying the process and have stopped worrying about the outcome. I am definitely seeing a huge improvement in what I make and every day is another learning opportunity.
Once I was happy with myself, I slowly reached a stage where I was not worried about what others would think of my art. I finally decided to participate in group art exhibitions and displayed my work to the world. Once I was there, I realized that there is no competition, no comparison, no perfection in art. Every artist is at a different stage in their chosen medium and style and every onlooker has a different taste and likes.
If you feel your work is not good, you might get surprised when you find someone you don’t know admiring it and asking you questions about it. You will also see that other artists are in the same boat with similar inhibitions. You will get to experience all this when you allow yourself to be free. I slowly started putting my work on the social media, connected with a lot of artists and creative communities and since then I have become more open, more carefree and more outgoing. I am not worried if my art would sell or not. I am painting because I love to paint and there is no stopping me now. I am slowly inching towards my goal of becoming a full-time artist. Although I am still doing my other paid job, I am devoting more time to painting and hopefully, one day, I will dedicate my whole life to my passion.
So, to all those who have similar feelings, just stay strong, keep practicing your art, start displaying it, loosen yourself up and don’t worry so much about the results, connect with others in the community, and keep growing. Do not compare your beginner stage with artists at an accomplished stage. Stay on your path, learn from others, put your work out there, and feel happy about it.
This article was originally published at Real She Power, an online magazine.
About the artist:
Anuja Aggarwal is an alcohol ink artist in India. She regularly conducts online alcohol ink art workshops in India. Her work is full of vibrant colours and gradients that are a delight to look at. She guides people on how to lose inhibitions and allow the colours to do their own magic.