I was listening to a podcast by the author of ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’ and it struck me that by creating art, I was actually pretty brave.
It had never occurred to me that the act of creating was a sign of bravery, but as I listened I realized that every step forwards on the artist’s path is also a step forward on the road of self-belief.
I was never actually encouraged to be an artist. My sister was the gifted artist of the family and I was pushed academically to pursue more lucrative careers.
So I studied English literature and included some art modules for fun. I remember some students looking at my artwork and exclaiming why art wasn’t to be my main pursuit. It didn’t even occur to me that art could be a viable career.
Creativity was something that I pursued as a hobby and also was a necessity. Painting pictures was a healing process where I could lose myself and find myself again.
The myth of the starving artist runs strong in this society and therefore to believe that you actually have the ability to be successful as an artist seems like a case of overblown confidence.
Self-doubt can so easily creep in and stop you from doing anything.
Thankfully the power of inspiration is a powerful force and nudged me forwards gradually.
Creating work has never been a problem for me, and neither has sharing it – in fact, I LOVE sharing my work and get really excited about posting new work. The hardest part for me has been having enough confidence to push my work as an actual career.
Getting beyond the ‘hobby’ mindset and also fear of wasting money on prints and products has kept me from pushing forwards as fearlessly as I would like.
I once had an exhibition and I spent £250 on getting cards printed. It wasn’t a huge amount of money, but it was a lot for me. I chose the strongest images and I thought that cards were a really accessible way for people to purchase my art. I thought I would sell loads.
Unfortunately, I didn’t and only sold a handful. I sadly packed up the cards and put them on a shelf where they sat reminding me of my failure. I felt too downhearted to even take them into shops as the fear of rejection was just too big a hurdle.
Art took a back seat after that. Art wasn’t going to pay the bills. I waitressed and cleaned to make ends meet. I surfed a lot and I was able to lose myself and find myself in the ocean, just like my art.
It wasn’t until the birth of my daughter, Tabitha, that the need to create hit me with full force. The demands of motherhood made me crave time to create art. I would get up at five in the morning to make cards and that was when I decided to create my brand ‘Glitter and Earth’.
Being fearless for me was not an issue at the time as it was simply about making pretty things and sharing the magic that I felt. Also as a full-time mum there was no pressure for me to contribute financially and that was very freeing.
Things really started flying for me when I participated in the 100-day project and decided that I would create a fairy a day for 100 days.
For me fairies are symbolic of all the amazing feelings we get when we are in nature and I started tapping into fairy energy every day and let it guide me. The momentum of the project led to me self-publishing my first book of contemporary fairies: ‘Glitter and Earth – Tales of Magic and Wonder.’
I had a lot of wobbles during the process! The things that helped the most, however, was a really supportive online community that had built up during the course of the 100-day project and the sheer momentum that had been created by doing something every day.
It is brave to be an artist. You put your soul out there for people to see and judge and of course people don’t come knocking on your door wanting to buy all your stuff and congratulating you on a job well done.
Instead, you have to be aware of the market. You have to become business minded and educate yourself on where your work has the best chance of success. I’m learning all the time, developing my art skills and marketing skills at the same time.
This gives me the confidence to push forwards. For me, it’s about small steps, small gambles. I’m asking myself what products can I create that I would like to buy?
I don’t think that fear will ever not be part of the equation, but I like the idea that I am being brave and so I will keep moving because there is magic in momentum.
Jacqueline Wild is a writer/illustrator with a love of magical and unseen things. She is inspired by the land and seascape of Cornwall where she likes to surf and practice yoga.
Making fearless fairy art
You can find her, and her art, at http://www.jacquelinewild.com
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So lovely to read about your journey, Jacqueline. You’ve captured this so well, how fear and self-doubt keeps us from creating, but that in pursuing life as an artist, we are in the road to self-belief and confidence. Thank you for sharing!
*on* the road 🙂
Thank you Dow! I really appreciate you reading about my journey. I’d love to read about yours! Perhaps you would like to write something for a Linda?
Thanks for commenting Dow 🙂 I’m looking for guests in July, if you’re interested
Thank you for the invitation, Linda. That sounds fun! I have a packed summer, but maybe at a later date I could write something for you. <3
You’re welcome 🙂 Sounds good