Happy August everyone! I cannot believe I’m saying that. This year has gone by ridiculously fast. As we inch closer to autumn, I am feeling the full swing of summer energy and I’ve finally fallen into a steady pace.
Each year I feel the ebb and flow of seasonal energy, and I was definitely struggling with the transition from winter to spring this year. By struggling I mean I was in serious mental hibernation mode, and dug my heels in deep, resisting the higher frequency of summer approaching.
However, that’s all behind me! And this year has been proving to be my most prolific yet. I gave myself some big goals, and I’m meeting most of them. But even more importantly, I had a revelation.
I discovered something along the way that I think I have known for a long time, but it didn’t fully sink in until recently. So I wanted to share it in case anyone out there is struggling:
True success lies in being authentic, not original. Stop worrying about doing the next best, most original thing that no one has ever done or thought about. Look inward, understand what makes you happy and fulfilled, and chase that with every fiber of your being.
Your tribe will find you, they will be drawn to your passion like a moth to the light. In your authentic joy you will be released from the pain of uncertainty.
The pain of uncertainty can manifest in many ways. It is usually a subconscious burden, making you question whether you are on the right path, or if you are painting the right subject, or using the right color.
But what I’ve found is that it will ALWAYS be there, waiting to steal your joy if you let it. That’s the thing about uncertainty. It finds every little gap of confidence and gets it’s hooks in. But we’re human. We’re bound to have moments of weakness. So it seems unavoidable.
So how can you combat such a sly enemy?
I think it is an ongoing effort and requires some work. Being self-aware is the first step. Looking inward and knowing when you are happy and when you are not is the beginning.
Mine started with my “social media detox” earlier this year. I suggest taking a month to paint or draw for yourself. With no concern for anyone else. Don’t post it online. Just create whatever captures your fancy. Paint from within. I bet you’ll catch yourself smiling or feeling the lightness that comes from doing something that brings you pure happiness.
For me, it happens when I am lost in the textures and colors of a landscape. Especially a very expressive landscape. Something that pushes the boundary of abstraction.
I enjoy a bit of realism at times, but my true joy is letting the palette knife glide over the paint, watching the colors blend on the canvas, allowing myself to embrace that spontaneity. Seeing colors dripping into each other.
Controlled spontaneity seems like a paradox, but I feel it every time I paint.
I’d love to hear from other artists about where you find your authentic passion. I think the beauty of this philosophy is that there is room for everyone.