Sunday, February 17, 2019

The struggle is real

The "I did its!" are coming fast and furious now.
And some of these models are just amazing.
model and photo by Jennifer Scott
With so much awesomeness on display, it's easy to believe that your half finished, ugly stage model is not worthy.
photo by Silvia Perez
From there, it's a quick jump to, "I'm not worthy."
photo by Wendy Basinger
Trust me, I know. The struggle is real.
photo by Maria Hjerppe
But here's the thing: The struggle is also universal.
photo by Amanda Brock
Almost every artist I know struggles with feelings of inadequacy.
photo by Chloe Jeffery
Shauna McDaniel writes: Day 15 is doubters day... or the day we discuss finished vs "dun." Are we ever actually finished or do we just hit the screw it point and move on before we lose that last marble still rattling in our heads? So yes, Shauna, it's time to move on. Hooves, final repairs, re-gloss those eyes... It will never BE perfect and that's just fine.
photo by Shauna McDaniel
Lauren Hoeffer agrees: Day 15.... Everybody doubts... I've been waffling all week between: "Awesome! She's going to look *exactly* how I saw her in my head!" and "Ugh! She's not right. I should have shaped the stripes differently. I shouldn't have put that layer of color on. I'm not happy with her." Even with friends and members of this group telling me she looks great, I'm still not 100% convinced. 

But with every new layer of dust, she changes. Sometimes subtly, other times more dramatically.  I added color to her tail this time and worked the same color into her mane and neck, and once again I'm happy with her.

Even those of us who have been at this for YEARS... still doubt ourselves. Well, I do anyway. Sometimes all it takes is to just keep "swimming"... and see what that model has to tell you. I've generally learned to listen and learn from the process every time!
photo by Lauren Hoeffer
Sue Rowe elaborates:  NaMoPaiMo is becoming less of a painting adventure and more a long silent dialogue with self. Accountability. Deciding to be okay with mediocrity vs getting to excellence. This during the insane hours trying to create a “living” Thoroughbred’s head on an old Breyer Swaps.... I no longer make my living in the model horse hobby. I will never be a professional equine sculptor. Some days I wonder if I’m “wasting” my time. Once in a while, though, the “living” horse peeks through - and, wow, the brain gets a jolt of Happy. Guess this is a long-winded way of saying that if you have a vision, goal, or end plan for your pony, you need the courage to keep slogging on. The rest of us have got your back. Please know that “You can do it!” Me? Still trying to see that home stretch from the backfield -lol. Carry on!
photo by Sue Rowe
Finally, there's this from Karen Lloyd: Every single art project is a struggle with perfectionism (which in turn is a struggle with anxiety and self doubt). I felt very burnt out after a string of Christmas ornament commissions in December. Their owners loved them, and they were all great to work with, but the voice of perfectionism put me through the ringer. I never want to let anyone down. I rarely feel like my art is good enough, and sometimes the higher price tag only makes it harder as I think, “Gosh I hope this person won’t feel like they wasted a couple hundred dollars.” 

I almost didn’t sign up for NaMoPaiMo because I felt broken going into it (not just as an artist, but my heart hurts badly that my heart bunny has cancer). I’m so glad I did though because I feel like the support in this group has been invaluable. Moments when it was tempting to say I wasn’t good enough, others here have cheered me on to keep going. Last night I finally arrived to the place of understanding that what I am doing with Kilimanjaro is my best in this moment. I am giving him my all. He won’t be perfect. He might not be as good as someone else could have done. He likely won’t be as good as what I will be able to do in the future. But I’m trying to accept that by giving my best in this moment he will be good enough. 🙂

I think sometimes this translates to do we think *we* are good enough and that’s something from my childhood I am still working on too.

Sending hugs and encouragement to all of you who also struggle with perfectionism and self doubt in some way! 💜
photo by Karen Lloyd
We all want to see our horse in the "I Did It!" collage, but it's okay if that hasn't happened yet. There's still a lot of month left. Be kind to yourself. Trust the process. Just keep painting.


  1. This is such a great post. <3 I need to stop being so scared of painting and join in next year.

  2. I have been awash in a sea of doubt and despair this time around. Perfectionism, which leads to procrastination, has been my long time companion and largest obstacle. Though I wouldn't wish such things on anyone, it always helps to know you're not alone. <3