What do you do when it feels like things aren’t happening in your art practice fast enough? Maybe you’ve taken lots of workshops, established a consistent painting practice, and you show up and put in the work, but your painting is just not at the level you think you should be at by now. Should you double down or just be patient with yourself? On this episode, I’m going beyond the understanding that patience is simply having the ability to wait without complaining. I want to offer you a more nuanced definition as it applies to your art and career as well as help you cultivate patience within your art practice and with yourself as you create.
Outline of This Episode
- [2:33] What is patience?
- [7:22] Signs you are running out of patience
- [16:53] Why patience goes beyond a simple character trait
- [18:32] The benefits of patience in your art practice
Patience is a virtue
Nobody likes waiting. So when it feels like your art or your career is telling you to do so, finding the patience to make that happen can be a huge challenge. However, patience is not just about waiting for the desired outcome without feeling annoyed or anxious. I think patience is about actively staying calm and clear as you take action and allow the inevitable consequences of your actions to happen. When you are patient with yourself and your art, there is stillness in the mind despite a lot of action taking place. As you cultivate this capacity to be calm and relaxed in the present moment, you create space. The space you need to create the outcome you want in your art and everything else. Especially when the initial outcome is different than you expected.
The journey is everything
A big sign that you lack patience in your art practice and for yourself is when you start dismissing the art journey. This happens when you stop recognizing and appreciating the journey, as not only necessary but arguably the most fun part of being an artist. The journey is everything. You don’t have to wait until you get to the top of a mountain to experience the joy of being in nature. It’s often not even necessary to reach the peak to get what you wanted from the hike.
The joy of being an artist is the joy we get from creating something meaningful, beautiful, thought-provoking, or whatever it is that you’re after with your art. You don’t have to wait to see the outcome of your painting to experience that. What if your joy is not dependent on how the painting turns out? You can be serious about your art AND experience the joy of creating it in the present moment. You don’t have to wait for the painting to be finished. Or for someone to like it. Or for it to be shown in a gallery. Or even for it to be sold. Joy, ease, AND that feeling of freedom are available to you right now. At this moment. Not just when the painting is finished or when you know the results.
Patience makes perfect
I’ve noticed that many people think that patience is a character trait you either have or don’t. But life isn’t filled with “patient people” and “impatient people”. It’s filled with people who are willing to cultivate patience and those who aren’t. Patience is a skill set that requires intentional development over time. One key skill for developing patience is being willing to feel and sit with any emotion. It’s being able to keep growing when things are positive and not stagnate. It’s also continuing to paint, even when the latest outcomes are negative and not the intended result. Developing patience means we are artists who trust their own capacity to continually take action towards their goal, regardless of inspiration, motivation, and undesired outcomes. Listen to this episode to learn more about cultivating patience in your life and art practice!