Pep Talk for Your First Event (and Life, for that Matter)
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Thoughts of A Sociable Artist

Pep Talk for Your First Event (and Life, for that Matter)

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” ― Elbert Hubbard 

 “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” ― Albert Einstein   

 Occasionally first time Sociable Art guests tell me they don’t know why they are here because they have absolutely no talent.  My first piece of advice is not to enter into any endeavor already convinced of your eventual failure.  Success does not spring from the seeds of self-doubt.  We are all artists.  Some of us have yet to find our style or our medium, but it is in us all.  

 I decided it would be helpful to share some ideas for approaching your blank canvas or your first Sociable Art event with the right attitude.  You could call it a pep talk of sorts. As I was writing my suggestions, I realized, interestingly enough, that these same rules could be applied to the way you approach your life.     

 1) Start with and maintain a positive attitude. 
 There is no greater indicator of eventual failure than a belief that you will fail. Work and home life can be stressful.  This is your time away from it all.  You didn’t pay me your hard earned money so you could stress yourself out.  When the teacher gave you finger paints and paint in grade school, you knew you were about to have some fun.  Find that old attitude.  Now that you are an adult, laughter, the company of good friends and wine can help.   

 2) Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish and set a realistic goal.  
 If you have zero to minimal experience with painting, you should not expect to become one of the great masters in one two-hour class. You are here to build artistic confidence. Remember to enjoy the process of expressing yourself creatively, rather than worrying about the final outcome.      

 3) Don’t fight your style.    
 Your canvas should not be an imitation of someone else’s.  Look to the paintings of others for inspiration, not unhealthy comparison and competition. When you get this painting home, there will not be another painting to compare it to.   

 Abandon the idea that your painting should look like mine.  While in the beginning, it is more comfortable to follow along with someone who knows what they are doing, just use my example as a foundation for what you create on your canvas. You are here to create a work of art that is uniquely yours.  People have a sense for authenticity in art and in others and it speaks to them.   Even if you are unaware of it, you do have a natural style.  You may tend towards bold brush strokes and heavy use of paint or you may like precise detail and blending.    

 4) Do not let fear of failure and self-doubt enter your mind.  
 Cut yourself a little slack and quiet the voice of your inner critic. Hesitation and fear of failure are revealed in your brush strokes.  Paint boldly and with courage.  This is not a test and there will be no grade.  This is not your job and your boss is not hovering over your shoulder.  Your husband is not an art critic and his review when you return home is entirely subjective.   

 5) There are no mistakes with painting, because you can paint right over the parts you don’t like. 
 Know that there is almost nothing you can experience or paint which cannot be improved with time and effort.  We cannot erase, but we can paint over.  There are no mistakes, only opportunities to create something new.   

 6) When all else fails, add bling.  
 Distract from shortcomings by adding glitter paint, rhinestones and a pretty frame.  Find that inner beauty and wear it on the outside for everyone to see.   

 7) Don’t ever give up.  
You can always paint a big huge daisy over it.    

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could just apply these rules to our lives in general?  Think of your life as a canvas on which you can paint what you want.  Do you want it to look like Edward Munch’s “Scream”?  or something more serene?  Ideally you want to create a scene with a balanced composition with elements of color and emotion in harmony.   

 Of the rules above, number five is my favorite:  There are no mistakes in painting. Maybe you are trying to paint something beautiful; a red wheelbarrow in the rain, but it isn’t turning out the way you want.  Give yourself a break.  This may be the first time you tried to paint a wheelbarrow.  The good news is that you do not have to live with that awkward, lopsided object which frustrates you every time you look at it.  We do not have an eraser, but we can paint over it and start to create a new scene.  Sometimes it is enough to just replace one element on the canvas.  At other times, we need to cover the whole thing with gesso and start over.   

 That’s the great thing about these lives we are living, we hold the paintbrush and can choose to make ours a beautiful work of art.  There are no mistakes, only opportunities to create something new. Your life should be an inspiring masterpiece, but you may have to paint over some rough spots along the way.  

Take a deep breath, relax, and let your personality shine through Be brave, and let go of fear. Then tell yourself you are an artist and you will create a masterpiece that is uniquely yours.   Believe in your ability to create something beautiful, possibly different, but still beautiful.  And lastly, don’t ever give up.     

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