The other day, I showed my hubby the commissioned paintings (not pictured above… I’ll post about them later) I have been working on. His comment was that they seem “safe”. I was feeling a bit hurt by the comment, because I took it to be a bad thing. While we were talking about it some more, he asked, “How would you feel if I said, “Wow, those paintings are really out there! They’re risky!” I would probably have felt the same. I would have been worried that they were too risky, that nobody would like them because they were weird. My initial reaction to any comment, even if it is a compliment, is to take it negatively.
SIDENOTE…[How bad is that, that I can’t even take a compliment seriously? I am working on this. It’s very hard for me, but I tend to assume the commenter either doesn’t know what they are talking about, or they are just saying it to make me feel good. A sad state of affairs, I know. Like I said, I am working on it. First step is to be aware. Second is to take the time to stop, listen and really hear what has just been said to me. Then I repeat it back in my head, using “I” instead of “you”. This is a whole other blog post, really!]
So, back to the “safe” comment. It’s kind of ironic, because a lot of the messages in my journal and art focus on feeling safe. So shouldn’t it be obvious that I might like to ‘paint safe’ sometimes? What does that even mean? When I’m working on a commissioned piece, I feel that some part of it has to be safe, in that I won’t make really random marks that aren’t my usual style. I am not going to experiment on a painting that someone is pre-purchasing, knowing that they are buying from me because they like the stripes and the colours I use. I can take risks on my own time/money, not someone else’s.
Or maybe this all comes down to confidence. Sometimes I have it, sometimes I don’t. When it comes to my paintings, I usually have it, except when I am painting for someone else, apparently! Because they may have expectations about how it should look, and I want to make sure they are getting what they paid for. Anyway, after a little talk with my mom, I also realized that I do have to stop obsessing over it and just “turn the page” (her words). Time to move on. The paintings are all packaged up and ready to go, and I’m crossing my fingers that they will like them!