Oct 28, 2019

Letting your shine out,… be enough!

Learning to create your own limelight, one that shines from within and propels you forward without anyone else’s input is an absolute must as an artist. This is not an easy task but well worth investing time, heart and a bit of grit.

I grew up in a family of 7. My parents grew up in the war days also in large families (if they survived) often of 13 or 14 children. You can imagine having that many children and as a parent trying to divvy up attention equally. I don’t have children so to help myself empathize - being an avid dog lover - I just try to imagine having 6 dogs and loving them each fully. Not treating one with more love than another etc. Or trying to acknowledge each one’s unique assets. Actually, I think I could do that no problem. However, I do see the challenge! And having one receive more attention than the others at any given time could definitely cause a ruckus !

As an emerging artist after leaving two professional careers behind, I have had to be: my own fan, my own audience, my own “kudo committee” for the entire duration of the course. As I travel my art journey I can see how receiving support and accolades from family members is particularly scarce. Not all family members withhold, but it’s not a fountain - let’s just put it that way. I get 1000% more feedback from friends, followers, artists and strangers than I do from family.

I recently thought about this a bit more deeply and realize that in my immediate family of 7 kids,… no one individual is… “allowed to shine”. My husband mentioned the other day after I told my 90 yr old father of my recent painting sales and acceptances to exhibitions, the dismay he felt when my Dad said barely anything but then innocently uttered, “oh ya,… Your brother just got a promotion”. My husband told me that he couldn’t help but think about the Japanese saying that “if a nail sticks up, hammer it back down” and this concept in action is what he felt he was observing with my Dad.

I have experienced this type of thing the whole time I have been on my artist journey and I have to say that I felt it painfully at the beginning. Even with my husband a little as abstract art was a new realm for him that he hadn’t much exposure to or interest in. 

I have had to learn to be both the audience applauding my work and the performer on stage embracing it,… simultaneously. It’s been a journey worth traveling however.

There is noone that I owe any of my success to, other than me. I do not need the constant or even intermittent praise from family, or anyone else for that matter. I do it because I love it. I do it because I am curious and furious about strengthening my artistic expression. When I receive a kudo… I accept it graciously but I also own it often saying “yes! I love that one too or ohhh yes, that’s my favourite!”

Being allowed to shine in one’s family, among friends or in the world is out of my/our control, but continuing to shine from within and let my light out despite the lack of applause is absolutely essential. It’s paramount! 

It’s vital for me not to require any form of support from family. It used to drag me down if a sibling or parent ignored or blew off my success. Now I barely notice it,… sometimes feel a little bit sad that we haven’t escaped the ways of "my war days parents" and grand parents, but then I move on. 

Keep going. 

It means nothing other than these patterns are hard to be free of and it’s a strong reminder that I must do my best to shine on my own and acknowledge the light of others. Because they too may be from family where a popped up nail needs to be smashed down.

Keep going. Keep calm and create on.

PJC Studio Notes: