We are told we should never say “I can’t” because we can and will if we practice. More accurately I am now aware as I progress on my personal journey, it should be “I can’t, yet”.
To “practice” in the broadest sense of the term is simply an activity we repeat regularly. We are practicing all the time, whether we are aware of it or not. Even when we are not actively doing anything, our brain is still absorbing and learning, so we might as well make the most of the time and practice effectively.
Musician Andrew Pouska defines practice as “the absorption, mastery and maintenance of skills”.
How do I practice being an artist practically?
I love learning and practising so this is very easy for me. I love going on the courses at Seawhites and West Dean. I’ve yet to try The Rabley Drawing Centre in Wiltshire but it’s on my bucket list
I find going on courses really helps give my artwork and me a focus. I have to prepare for the courses, especially if there is a list of what to do before the course and what to expect on the course.
Courses also give me the opportunity to be away from my home environment and the many distractions it can present. They allow me time to play and process, they present me with new challenges that take me out of my comfort zone and they allow me time to practice critical judgment.
I also find some of the course title irresistible. Such as, Wabi Sabi, Painting & Pattern, The Creative Painting Space, Basketweaving, Experimental Printmaking, Collagraph & Block Print, Japanese Woodcut – especially if they are based at Seawhites in Partridge Green which is very close to my home.
I realise now that each art course I take feeds my practice holistically – I used to consider them as separate entities, but now I recognise they are all part of the whole.
How do I practice being an artist mentally?
I am a gold member of Pure Arts Group, which allows me to access lots of personal and professional development and networking with other artists. I also have a coach and mentor who I see monthly to talk through where I’m at and plan out future steps
Mentoring and coaching have really opened my eyes to new ways of being and doing. It has been extremely helpful to be guided as to when I’m ready as an artist for the World, and when it’s ready for me!
Pure has given me an opportunity to meet other artists across a broad range of disciplines and appreciate different perspectives and attitudes. It has provided opportunities to exhibit and guidance with applying for open submissions and competitions etc.
Pure has also given structure to my art life and a collaborative group of fellow artists to grow alongside and occasionally have lunch with, all of which has been much appreciated.
To be externally validated is to place your happiness in the hands of the crowd. As an artist, this is a known risk, whether it be awaiting a sale or a reply from an open submission or competition. I have learned that to be happy I must validate myself. Be happy that I have created the best work I can at the time and present it in the best way I know how and have patience and persistence.
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