Having confidence is vital for an artist. It shows through your work and how you value your own art. If you don't believe your works are good, you will not convince your viewer that they are good! But it might be hard to have confidence in the modern day where you are exposed to everything around the world on the internet. You can see the works done by masters everyday. And it can be impressive to see but also intimidating. I run into this issue a lot. I aimed high, I wanted to paint like the masters of our time. But after looking at their works, I always felt I still have a long way to go. It can be discouraging. So today I want to share a few simple ways to boost your self-confidence as an artist:
- Look at your old work
You should look at the masters work and set your goal there. But also look at your old work to see how much you've improved! This is the reason I kept some of my old works. Yes you may still have a long way to reach your goal, but you've also come a long way to where you are! Don't get me wrong, I am not saying to keep patting yourself on the back and be satisfied with yourself. This serves as a reminder that you are improving, and if you keep at it, you will improve more! And this leads to the next point...
- Compare with yourself, not others
You can find countless artists on the internet who are better than you (or worse). Don't compare yourself to them. Compare with yourself! You are your biggest rivalry in art. Every painting you do, you make it better than your previous one.
- Paint the same painting twice or more
I do that quite a bit. Sometimes when you tackle on a fresh subject, your first attempt can be disastrous! That is especially true for watercolor, a few wrong decisions and solutions can ruin a painting. But there is no wasted time when you did a bad painting. You gain valuable experience and you learned from your mistake. Which is why painting watercolor is great, because the nature of the medium do not allow you to go back and fix your mistake. Unlike oil or acrylic, when the paint is dry it's done. The only thing you can do is to paint another one. Since you gain some valuable experience, why not applied what you learned immediately? The improvement on the result will give you a confidence boost! If you want, paint the subject more than twice. I did some paintings 3-4 times and each one gets better (you only get to see the best one)! ;)
One thing you should avoid at all cost is to look at the artists who are not as far along as you and bash their works! It is tempting to do that and feed your ego, and it does make you feel superior for a short period of time. But this will NOT help you improve, and this is degrading yourself as an artist. I know some people do that and before they know it, the inexperienced artists they used to bash on surpass them. You slow down if you look at who's behind you! So compare with yourself, and head towards the masters!
Finally, I would like to share one of my old painting of Vancouver about an year and half ago. And next to it, another painting of Vancouver done few month ago. If I can make this improvement in an year, you can do it too!