Thursday, December 6, 2007

Just Say You are an Artist

from the online ebook
All At Once
a practically instant guide to creativity

This one is harder than you might think, and more important.

There’s an old playground saying: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.”

It is not true.

Broken bones are not fun, but they heal much faster than broken spirits. Criticism and teasing have left their marks on most of us.

I taught elementary school long enough to know that in every class there was a “Designated Artist”. This boy or girl was like the star kickball player. Anything he or she did was admired by adults and children alike, so this student drew and painted more than anybody else. It was an interesting cycle. The more the class artist drew and painted, the better he or she became at drawing and painting.

There were many other students in each of my classes who could have drawn and painted as well or better, but they did not think they were artists. Someone had once laughed at their work or misunderstood it. They were reluctant to try again.

If this is you, don’t curse the person who hurt you. He or she was also hurt. Just stand up straight and reclaim your spirit.


1. How would you spend your working day if you were an artist? Use a planner page to make a schedule. Reserve a Saturday or vacation day for yourself. Do everything on your schedule. Revise your schedule, if necessary and repeat this exercise as often as possible.

2. When you have twenty finished paintings, tell a stranger you are an artist. They will ask what kind of work you do. Be ready to tell them in a sentence or less.

3. Investigate conferences, retreats and artists’ colonies. They are available for all skill levels. Attend one.

4. Join a local art group. This could be a weekly figure drawing session, a plein air painting club, or a neighborhood art collective that hosts a tour of local studios. Introduce yourself as an artist.

The more you say this, the more you will believe it. When you believe it, other people will too.

To read the entire ebook, visit