One of the most common challenges we all face is our fear of making mistakes. Creative mistakes in particular seem to really inspire our inner critic. I find that in my art classes, whether I'm teaching 9 year olds or octogenarians, the most important discussions have less to do with technique and supplies, and more to do with embracing our creativity, missteps and all.
As an art teacher, my biggest job is to encourage people to believe in their creative possibilities and expand their experience in the arts. I believe that beyond learning techniques, it is through art and play that we establish connections to different areas in our lives and that we are better able to understand and appreciate the world around us. These are lofty goals and to get there, we have to be willing to endure a lot of bad art that we will inevitably create along the way.
My job is to encourage people to believe in their creative potential and processes. I believe that people can transform their lives through acts of creativity and yet most of us have doubts and fears about our creative abilities. The fear students express is disproportionate to the task at hand, as I jokingly point out "It's just a piece of paper." But yes, it is so much more, too.
And no matter what, none of us will ever get to a place where every artistic effort will result in a gorgeous piece of art. But the more important truth is that it is still safe to follow your creative dreams. In art class, we learn to see, to paint, to draw, to make creative decisions... but what I really hope we learn is how to be loving to ourselves and to others, to nurture our unfolding, to encourage growth, understand fears, and understand our connectedness.
We all create pieces we want to rip out of our sketchbooks, paintings we want to burn, poems we will deny having written. Creating bad art is part of the process. Making mistakes is inevitable. So go make some glorious ones. High five whoever you're sitting next to when your art goes bad. Exclaim "Isn't that fascinating!" And then get back to work.
Be kinder to yourself and be kinder to your artwork. I know it's hard, but try. Keep showing up for yourself and keep responding to your creative yearnings.