ENCOURAGEMENT

There are many skills that lead to being a good artist. Some of us (like me) have a few of those skills, but have to work hard at cultivating the skills we lack. Others have all the skills, but cling onto them, not wishing to share them with anyone. Many people are competitive and take this to the extent of playing dirty by undermining anyone they feel may be competition. Still others have the skills and wish to pass them on.

Yes, in this world, people are all different and often we cannot change this fact. Okay, some people have life-changing experiences, often as a result of some form of counselling or a religious experience, or an accident, etc. Most just stay the way they always were. We must try hard to steer clear of those who would (as Bob Dylan said it) bring us down into the hole that they are in. Instead, we should learn to cultivate people who will lift us up and we in turn can lift them up when they need it.

Most artists are content with their lives, and as a result of this contentment they wish to share their skills and enthusiasm with others. These contented people are the ones we should be cultivating as friends, associates, colleagues, etc. Very often, just communicating with a contented person can have a beneficial effect on us.

I myself have reached an age when I no longer dream of a professional career in art, but I suppose I still have ambitions. I dream of power – no, not power over others – power over my own failings. I’d love to conquer my procrastination and my lack of self-confidence. I’d love to take my art as far as I am capable of taking it.

I’ve always wished to have some of the skills I see demonstrated every day on Redbubble. As I grow older though, I am accepting that instead of wishing and hoping for skills I do not have, maybe I should be learning how to make the most of what skills I do have.

I don’t rate my “style” as being great, although my work frequently gets favourited and featured, so it must be slightly better than I perceive it to be.

What I have gained from Redbubble is the ability to occasionally see my work as others see it. I read comments about my pictures and realise that many people often spot something good about one of my paintings that I had missed out on. Instead of bewailing my lack of talent in certain aspects of art I now find myself occasionally seeing my pictures as others see them and trying to develop the aspects of my art that do seem to work.

My title for this piece of writing was “Encouragement” and I wish to thank everyone on Redbubble for the encouragement they have been giving me over the last two years. I hope I too have been able to offer encouragement to others now and then.

A few embittered members of Redbubble have grumbled about Redbubble being nothing more than a “backslapping” club, but hey, we artists are often sensitive, insecure people, who need to be encouraged and pushed forward a little. I absolutely hate insincerity and boot-licking, but where is the harm in offering a little praise and encouragement to each other when we feel it is rightly deserved or even needed?

I like to be honest when I am praising people. Insincerity is soon sussed out and bang goes one’s reputation as an honest person. As a young man, I remember reading a book by Dale Carnegie. He spoke of complimenting people to build them up. He stressed that we must be sincere about this. He said he’d never found anyone who had no redeeming qualities at all.

He cited an example of how he was entering a hotel once and the lift-attendant (or elevator attendant as some call them) looked really miserable. Dale tried hard to find something to compliment the guy on to cheer him up. He saw that the man wasn’t exactly handsome, but he realised that the man had a fine head of hair for someone of his age. He remarked on this and the guy’s face lit up with a smile. No doubt that compliment affected the lift-man’s attitude to people that day.

Yes, we aren’t all budding Picassos or Rembrandts, but each of us has something to offer, however little, and by giving recognition to someone’s talent, however small it may be, we often imbue them with the will to continue creating and to expand the talent they already have.

Art is a form of communication and when we communicate successfully with someone it encourages us to keep on trying harder.

We shouldn’t be copying each other, competing with each other, or envying each other – we should be learning to be content with what talents we do possess; striving to improve upon and expand them and helping others to do likewise.

I’ll never be Picasso, Dali or Van Gogh, but hey – I want to be the best Dave Edwards I can be.

So let’s all continue with the great job we are doing on Redbubble of encouraging each other to make the most of our gifts.

Cheers,

Dave.

ENCOURAGEMENT

BLYTHART

Blyth, United Kingdom

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