Avoid "shiny object syndrome"


 Every day when you open your Instagram or Facebook, chances are you see a lot of artwork. This is very normal especially if you are an artist. When I swipe through my Instagram feed, I am inspired by the sheer amount of outstanding works! To be honest, this can get a little bit disheartening at times. I see artists with beautiful works and away more follower than I do. On top of that, there are multiple artists whom I admire paint in different style, subject, and medium. Because of this, I was tempted to switch things up and follow what they're doing. Maybe it to paint more realistically, start painting more animals, try a technique that another artist uses, or ditch watercolor altogether and try charcoal. I know I'm not alone on this. I see many people do the same thing. This is a very common artist's "shiny object syndrome."

 The amount of information we get each day is enormous. This is a double-edged sword. You get inspired and your artistic view grows wider. However, it is also incredibly distracting. If you constantly jump into whichever attracts you and try to mimic it, you are going nowhere with your own painting skill and style. I am not trying to stifle your creativity and artistic freedom. You have the right to try and do whatever you want to do as long as you don't infringe on the right of others. However, if you pick just one of the master who you admire and follow. You might discover that his/her artwork are very consistent. You might see the progression of his/her skill, style or subject matters. But that's definitely not an overnight change. That brings it to our point:

Artists are successful at what they do by focusing.

 I rarely see a well-known, successful artist dabbles on many different things. They might have 2 or more subjects they paint. But they are usually known for a specific medium and style. That is how they become the master of their art, by focusing. While exploring different styles and subjects is a learning phase that helps you to discover what you are most interested in and passionate about, spending time and focus on it is the only way to master it. It is tempting to become jack of all trades. But by not focusing on one thing you could become master of none.

 This can be a very hard decision to make, as this requires you to give up on certain things. It can even get a bit boring sometimes because that's all you do. Meanwhile, you see so many other artists doing beautiful works that you want to learn how to do. You could be tempted to throw everything you've done. However, without focus, you will be constantly reset yourself back to the starting point. So after you explore different style and subject matter, start focusing on it. Don't just give up and switch when you are frustrated with the result. Nobody master something overnight. Don't jump on anything that attracts you. Enjoy them, inspired by them, but focus on what you set out to do.