The high level of quality that is available in the art world doesn’t happen by itself. It happens because each of those individual artists is committed to their work. They work hard in each of their respective areas and over time develop instinctive and intuitive qualities in their work that make it stand out. As such, you can never find a simple formula for building confidence in your artwork. You can be aware of being too careful in your approach. Are you able to walk into your studio and be bold with statements that you make with your work?
Or is it completely tentative experience from the beginning to the finish? This is definitely going to show in the end quality of your work and if it is coming across as being overly tentative or timid for example, it will be dismissed as such.
In the creative process, I feel it’s important to be attentive to process orientation when you work. It’s important to notice the mistakes that happen. You can learn from these mistakes. Sometimes the best breakthroughs in your studio activity happen through these accidents. Bring the microscope to these moments and you might find that you’ve had a major insight into your work and that the confidence that you are looking for is suddenly there. Unless you take a certain amount of risk in your art making process, you won’t be able to learn that sometimes artworks can go in a whole new positive and unexpected direction by adding new colors or new compositions or even completely new materials rather than sticking by the same old processes of working and being repetitive. All of this can be the result of an artistic accident in the studio. It is not only good to be alert to these possibilities, but essential to also value them and use them when they happen.
This can be pretty scary for somebody at the beginning of their career. Often these people prefer to find a safe place in the way that they create, almost wanting to believe that there’s some kind of tried and true formula to ensure their success. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s important for both students and artists at the beginning of their career, apart from their ongoing practice in the studio, to study whatever processes they need to improve and gain mastery over that way of working. You can look up on the Internet for any process that you’re interested in learning about. This may lead you to either doing a course, buying a book, buying a DVD or CD, etc. All of these aids can help you to gain confidence. At the same time I remember the times in my life where I’ve had a real fear of putting pencil to paper or paint to canvas. It’s not uncommon. I specifically remember a time when in the lead up to a major exhibition, I had stretched and primed twelve large Belgian linen canvasses and a series of works on paper.
The studio looked impressive, but I was suddenly thrown into a deep sense of shock. I couldn’t move in there. I was unable to begin work; because I had spent so much time meticulously preparing the linen, – coating it with layer upon layer of gesso that I somehow alienated myself from the core processes I was involved in with my art practice at the time. I solved it by turning away from all the white surfaces, re-acquainted myself with my last few completed canvasses and began work on some quick studies on unprimed paper on the floor and before I knew it I was away.