For several years, John has curated the work of landscape artists for a cyber art show that he shares with his audience of landscape painters on Facebook. Every week, he asks his followers a question. A recent question was: “If you had to pick just one thing that being an artist has taught you, what would it be?” The question elicited over a hundred responses, such as:
- Don’t self promote. It’s embarrassing and self-defeating.
- Perseverance, persistence, and patience.
- Not to be an artist. I quit six years ago.
- Never stop learning and pushing your boundaries.
- There will always be someone who is better than you. Don’t compete.
- How hard it is to be an accomplished artist. I sometimes think I’ll never get there.
- Marry well.
- Admire, appreciate, and understand other’s work.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy.
Midweek, John posted a comment in which he said that he had observed only about 2 percent of the population are truly artists and another 10 percent consider themselves creative. Everyone else just likes to paint.
I was quite surprised that John thinks so few of his artist followers think of themselves as creative and even fewer see themselves as artists, but I don’t disagree with him even though I have come to other conclusions. That’s what he’s observed and what he believes. John explained his reasoning this way: “TRUE artists suffer. They struggle to fit in. To get enough money to eat and live. To find time enough to create what is burning them up inside and to get recognition in an indifferent society and world.”
That was Van Gogh’s life story. It’s a story and a mindset that many painters, writers, poets, sculptors—artists—have adopted, though. It’s a belief that is worn by many, perhaps the majority, like sackcloth and perpetuated by its repetition. It’s a belief that is passed from generation to generation. But here’s the thing—beliefs are nothing more than thoughts that people continue to think, and as long as people continue to tell each other their stories of lack, they will continue to manifest and share those experiences.
Tell a different story. Chronic attention to unwanted things holds you in a place (through the thoughts that you think) of disallowing what you really want.
Everyone is creative. If you doubt that is true, take 15 minutes and recall/make a list of things you’ve created (brought into your life) because you imagined/thought of something that you wanted for yourself. The Law of Attraction says that “that which is like onto itself, is drawn.”
Study for portrait of Vincent Van Gogh by Francis Bacon, 1957.