Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Skill and Confidence: Is My Work Any Good?

Is my work any good?

This question is a thorn throughout one's entire art career, but it seems more painful when just starting out.  You have little or no confidence at this point, and for a reason – you don't know anything yet, so of course your work isn't very good.  However, as you practice and learn more about your craft, you can't help but improve, and so your confidence level rises.

Early on, it's easy to get over-confident and to think you are really something.  My late mentor, Ann Templeton, once told me:  "When you're just starting out, you get better fast.  But then you get to where it's hard work to get better, and it also takes more time."  For awhile, you may not see any improvement at all.  When this happens, your confidence can nose-dive.

But then you make a little jump in your craft – maybe you discover a different way of applying paint that brings your work to a new level – and your confidence follows.

There's a dance that happens between your level of confidence and your skill level.  My conversations with other artists tell me this is very much a shared experience.  But if you're just starting out in your career and are in a hole, take heart.  It does get better!

I've created this short video to explain how it works.  If you've been in this dance, too, I'd love to hear about your experiences.  (Don't see the video?  Here's the direct link: )

By the way, don't forget that my 2017 calendar is available.  You can see a preview and get it here:

Also, my $50 rebate for workshops is available until December 25.  For details, please see my previous blog post:  Bring a friend!  I hope you'll join us this winter.

Also, please don’t forget my books (available at and my videos (available at North Light Shop) and my workshops (on my web site)!

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