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An Artist's Life; taking care of your Art Shrine

kristena briem-west creative arts creativity criticism how to start an art practice overcoming criticism protecting your creative process self-esteem shadow artists wizard of oz

an Artist’s Life; taking care of your ArtShrine


I’ve been thinking a lot about people who make criticisms or corrections about the actions or emotions of others. They show & tell their disapproval, as if they have the inner marker of “appropriateness” to everyone else’s behavior. These people have unresolved power, authority and creative issues, that they constantly project outward onto others. If one points this out, there is effusive denial. Yet, the very thing they proclaim about others, is the very thing they cannot see in themselves. Or they say, don’t take it personally. Yeah. right. Giving themselves permission to continue their critical discourse of others.

I grew up with a Mom that was a “shadow artist” she criticized my art, my life, my feeling life, she was out of her body/boundary and living in my life. Suffocating. I left home and never went back. When I feel that controlling energy come at me, I don’t trust the person and I disappear. It’s emotional blackmail and form of verbal abuse. One cannot be free with someone always trying to contain one. The best thing is to not be in the same space.

Here are some quotes from Julia Cameron’s book on the Artists Way.

“Creativity flourishes when we have a sense of safety and self-acceptance. . . we must learn to place our [inner] artist with safe companions. Toxic playmates can capsize our artist’s growth. Not surprisingly, the most poisonous playmates for us as recovering creatives are people whose creativity is still blocked. Our recovery threatens them.” jc

“Perfectionism has nothing to do with getting it right. It has nothing to do with fixing things. It has nothing to do with standards. Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move forward. It is a loop—an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole.” jc

I don’t remember if it’s Marion Woodman or Julia Cameron that gave guidance to not share new creative endevours with people like this, as they “kill the baby.” They subtly disparage or correct one’s creativity as “Not. Quite. Right.” thus killing off the vunerable creative “baby” or beginning sprouts.

Creativity is messy, its chaotic, it’s all over the map, it’s upside down, not right side up and contained. When I am in a creative mode, my studio is filled to bursting with paints, canvas, shreds of some precious cloth, pens, books, ideas are brimming, brimming, brimming. It’s a time of overflow. It’s good. The time for pruning or editing comes after, it’s the distilling of essence. That takes time, patience, love and acceptance of the whole god-loving process.

So a word to the creatives out there, protect your inner artist/creative shrine. It’s your Light to Shine, the world awaits your gifts so they can take it further.


2d Photo: Alain Laboile. French photographer and artist ..

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