She always shows up uninvited to the art party. She strides in with confidence and sits down right next to me as I’m starting to roll on a new art piece. I’m usually at the beginning or mid-way through when she raises an eyebrow, looks down at the page and scoffs, “You know, your perspective is ALL wrong there. You should really work on your drawing skills.”
That’s what I’m doing! I want to slap her in the face. She has a way of killing the happy art place in me with a few words. You'd think I would remember she often comes along when I start a new piece - but I forget and get caught by surprise.
I mutter under my breath, “I’m just playing. Practicing. Getting to know these new tools.” Trying to fend her off so she’ll leave me alone.
I feel the pit in my stomach. The surge of self-doubt. “She’s right. I can’t draw worth shit,” I think.
She settles into the seat next to me, her hair all wrapped in a bright satiny turbin, looking all artsy herself.
“Do you REALLY think you can do something with your art? I mean, most artists spend ALL their time in the studio. You seem to flit about doing lots of things,” she pesters with her opinions.
Oh. My. God.
My heart sinks. Maybe she's right. I feel that heavy sense of defeat before I’ve even finished the piece.
NO! “Just keep going,” I tell myself. “Keep playing with color. Experiment. Nothing new came from giving up! Just play. Have fun. Discover your new tools.”
I press on and don’t listen to her negativity. I simply place my attention on what I’m doing. I get present to the FUN of color. To the play of making lines. To the investigation of making marks.
I have yet to make a friend of her, my inner critic. She is still with me on the ride. In fact, I don’t think I will “get rid” of her, because she is part of me.
What I do know is if I don’t give her too much attention she gets bored and goes away. Especially when I get so fully absorbed in what I’m doing that I’m no longer aware of her, and I am soulfully present.