I am basically a self-taught watercolour artist. About 12 years ago, I started taking evening Adult Ed classes, when I worked full-time. I have kept practicing and trying to improve my drawing and painting skills ever since.
I have submitted applications for local exhibitions, involving submitting a form, including a high-resolution gloss photograph when requested, and a non-refundable payment. I was so often rejected that I stopped applying. Unlike when you apply for a job, you can phone and ask why you weren’t asked to be interviewed and receive some constructive feedback. With the art application process, you usually aren’t allowed to engage with the judges, so you never find out if you were close to getting accepted, on the right track or are able to seek any kind of feedback to help you.
Rejection is discouraging and I think I briefly found myself skirting around the edges of Imposter Syndrome. Thankfully, for me, I focused on the people who do like and connect with my art, rather than those that don’t, and keep painting what I wanted to paint and I was able to avoid getting drawn into this misery. I can understand how Imposter Syndrome could easily suck you in and really damage your confidence.
I also think that my imagination helps me fight against this syndrome and negative art-self-talk because it is such a dominant and relentless force in my brain. It is always bombarding me with painting ideas. It produces way, way, way more ideas than I ever will be able to paint. So, I feel that my brain is forced to analyse, judge, sort and categorise painting ideas rather than dwell on “an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be”. This TED talk explains Imposter Syndrome or Imposter Phenomenon well https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_cox_what_is_imposter_syndrome_and_how_can_you_combat_it?language=en and there are many articles explaining these commonly experienced feelings https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/11/fraud.
I realise that many people underestimate how challenging I find art and think that I can draw anything. Myth buster – there are many things that I simply can’t draw!!, which also could feed into Imposter Syndrome. I struggle with composition, drawing and I usually erase whatever I am trying to draw multiple times. I think if people watched me undertaking a painting from start to finish, that they would be seriously surprised. I am a serious believer that drawing can improve with practice. It is about enjoying trying (the journey), enjoying the end-products that are successful, trying to give as little time as possible to dwelling on those that aren’t, (after analysing them to try to avoid the same mistake/s next time) and enjoying the joy that art gives to the recipients.
A friend encouraged me to submit an application form to enter my painting, titled “Goldilocks and the 20 Penguins” in the Waterways Exhibition to be held at the Long Gallery in the Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, Tasmania. Reluctantly I did, and success! the painting has been accepted!!
The Water Ways exhibition will open to the public at 10am on Friday 5th February at the Long Gallery, Salamanca Place, Tasmania and continues until Sunday 14th.
I hope that you are able to see the Water Ways exhibition and the original of “Goldilocks and the 20 Penguins”.
Take care, from Patricia (PJ)