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it has been hours since breakfast and I’m hungry. If a particular area of a painting is giving me “fits” I’ll take a break and work on something else for an hour. If it is late in the evening I may simply quit for the day. Most times a bit of distance and fresh eyes gives me my solution to the painting’s problem area. Basically I do my best to remember the Talmudic saying: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself only, what am I? If not now – when?” NL: It is easy to get down on yourself when things don’t seem to be going anywhere. For me I have to remind myself why I do art: compulsion and the need to create. It isn’t for accolades, it is for self-fulfillment. It’s great when someone feels what I am doing creatively but it is not essential to my artistic self esteem. Artists can be their own harshest critic. Internally, I never forget why I do art and I remind myself when those doubts start to creep out from within. RN: Negative self-talk suffocates the creative spirit. This is the most deadly of all rejections.

When a person picks up a brush at the easel or faces the block of wood, their mental thoughts must be on the process of creating— the joy, the fun, the losing-track-of-time-ness, that makes making art more like play than work. If a creative person stands as judge and jury in front of their blank canvas passing sentence on the value of the work yet to be created, nothing will happen or poor quality work will emerge. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. Gloom and doom thoughts will net gloom and doom results. To say the same thing more eloquently: “That which I feared has come upon me.” (Job 3:25) Negative self-talk for the artist is abuse. Before you begin your creative work, center your thoughts on a flawless start-up, the pleasurable time you’ll have creating, and a positive mental thought such as “I know enough to begin now” or “This is the perfect time to paint.” Then take a breath and dig in. Artists must be able to generate their own positive mental energies—no one else can be held responsible to do this for you. Be your own best friend. Coach yourself to do what you love because it matters that you do it—because it gives you joy to be in the flow of creativity. Don’t make creating art all about

the end product or potential sales. Do what you love, not because you’ll be another Picasso, but because you love to do it. Be generous; give yourself the gift of a rejection-free time slot to work and see what can happen.  About the Authors: Sue Clancy is a full-time professional artist whose artwork can be seen internationally - and locally at Joseph Gierek Fine Art gallery in Tulsa OK ( or at Downtown Art & Frame in Norman OK. She checks her email artist@telepath. com occasionally, too. Nathan Lee is the founder of Inclusion in Art, and a regular contributor to Art Focus. He is also a mixed media artist known for his sculptural work. Romney Nesbitt is a creativity coach, artist, teacher and writer living in Tulsa. She welcomes your coaching questions for future columns. Contact her at

Thank you to our New and Renewing Members from September and October 2007 Drew Ackerman Sam Gresham and Lyn Adams Jennifer Adkisson Ron Allen Phyllis Baker Kimberly Baker Lynn Barnett Sparks Joy Reed Belt DiAnn Berry Doris J. Bewley Julie Marks Blackstone Carly Bodley Jennifer Bohn B. Queti Bondy Marjorie Bontemps Jane C. Booher E. A. Brantley Stephanie Brudzinski Milissa Burkart Jeanene S. Carver Linda Cavanaugh Carolyn Chandler Lisa Chronister Dian Church Ann Clark Neil T. Cluck Gael Collar Cameron Creed Ryan Cunningham

Jacqueline Zanoni and Tomas de los Santos Jeff Dodd Elizabeth Downing Kellie Eastham Angela Evans Beverly K. Fentress Ron Fleming Gus Friedrich and Erena Rae Melinda Glasgow Diane Glenn Lisa Goldsmith David Goodrich Mary H. Grabow Almira Grammer Brenda Kennedy Grummer Lou Moore Hale Kirkland and Julia Hall Christina Harmon Aaron Hauck Shelly Henry Jonathan Hils Matt Jarvis E. K. Jeong Michelle Johnson Paula Jones Kelsey Karper Jacquelyn Knapp Nicholas Kyle and Rose Allison

Paul Lacy Judy Laine Sharyl Landis Debbie Langston Rod Limke Monika Linehan Patta LT Dru Marseilles Janice Mathews-Gordon Kenny McCage Cheryl McCanlies Janice McCormick and Ed Main Margaret McDonald Rudy Miller Melynda Mitchell Matt Moffett Romney Oualline Nesbitt Noteworthy Crafts Molly O’Connor David Oliveira George Oswalt Bob E. Palmer Megan Pargeter Sarah Iselin and Frank Parman Suzanne Peck June and Lee Pierce Tammy Roberts John A. Robinson Diane Salamon

Ann Saxton Barbara S. Scott Linda Scudder Luci Seem Melanie Seward and Bryan Lettenmaier Randel and Dana Shadid Julie Strauss Gwen Suthers Cindy Swanson Glen Thomas Layne Thrift and JC Casey Ginger Tomshany Diana Tunnell Becky Way Lori Weatherholtz Tom Wester Janie Wester B. J. White Andrea Wijkowski Cindy Williams Nancy Windsor Stephanie Ruggles Winter Paula Davidson Wood Mark Wyatt Dean Wyatt


Profile for Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition

Art Focus Oklahoma, January/February 2008  

2008 January/February Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight i...

Art Focus Oklahoma, January/February 2008  

2008 January/February Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight i...

Profile for ovac