Over the last few years I have become more confident in displaying my work and sharing it with others, including my process but it certainly wasn’t that way when I began this journey.  I now know that every artist is unsure of some of their work, even those that have been doing this for decades. 

When I first “came back” to art after I retired, I was persuaded by a friend to join the local art club and as a member, the expectation was to exhibit work in the club’s annual art show. The very first time that I showed my work I was nervous as to how it would be received.  I’m not going to lie – my first pieces weren’t great but any comments that came my way were mostly positive, along with some advice from other artists so it made me feel more positive about my work.  I did take some of the advice and continued to practice and improve my skills and I can admit that, over the years, I have gone from amateur to somewhat professional, depending on what I’m painting and who is critiquing.  😊

There were many important lessons that I learned from exhibiting my art but one important one is that art is definitely “in the eyes of the beholder”.  In one of my earlier shows, I exhibited a painting of tulips that I was not too sure about.  I would have been the first to admit that it was not my best work and was definitely not one of my favourite paintings.  I assumed that it probably wouldn’t sell but it was nice enough that it at least would fill up some wall space for the show.  However, and much to my surprise, it was one of the first paintings that I sold during that show and the buyer was just so happy with it.  “It is the exact colour I was looking for and will fill up that space in my home just perfectly”.  It really made me realize that everyone looks at your art with a different eye, including you, the artist. 

After I started doing commissioned paintings, I found that my confidence was increasing but I still continue to be amazed at how well my work is received.  I know what I am capable of, but as any creative person knows, that little voice in your head still says – is it good enough, will they like it, did they expect something different. 

What I have really learned from all of this is that it doesn’t really matter.  If you love what you’re doing, just keep doing it.  Display it if you want . . . or not.  Take advice so that you learn more from other artists . . . or not.  Ignore criticism as it doesn’t help you to move forward.  Share your work if it makes others happy and continue improving your art to be the best you can be – for YOU, not others!

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