How do you develop confidence, that sustaining belief in yourself and your work that keeps you going over the long term? You first need to get your work out there, to share it with others you trust.
When you keep your art in hiding, you waver between two illusions: your work is the most brilliant art anyone has ever created, or it is completely worthless. How you feel on a particular day determines which end of this teeter totter is up.
Oddly enough, you build confidence by opening yourself to criticism. Without feedback you are trapped inside your own feelings, shifting between opposite illusions that keep you stuck. It hardly matters whether your feelings are positive or negative, because they keep you in a fixed place. By opening yourself to other points of view, you begin to discover the difference between what you intended and what you were able to achieve. This makes it possible for you to grow as an artist.
When you are ready, share your art with others. Choose people whose opinions you respect, including other artists. You can also post your work on instagram, but it is harder to get detailed feedback that way. Think about inviting people for a studio visit, or set up a virtual conversation where you share images.
When asking for feedback, prepare questions ahead of time. Be clear about what you want to know. If you’re looking for an overall response, ask “how would you describe the effect of my painting?” If you’re looking for technical information, ask “does the scale of this sculpture seem right to you?” Your questions will open up a conversation that helps you see your work in a new way.
That clear-eyed view is the foundation of real confidence.
Mary Edwards, Ph.D
Career & Life Coach for Artists
“Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
As an artist coach, I bring a unique combination of business knowledge, art world experience, and professional coaching skill to my practice.