The Gift of Doubt
The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.
I've heard this quote before from the critic and author, Robert Hughes. I like how he addresses doubt. We all have it. We all face those times in the studio where doubt creeps in and tries to take over our creativity. And, it doesn't matter how long you've had your practice, it just happens. I don't know of one artist who hasn't struggled with doubt.
But the issue is how we address and handle doubt when it arises. I've seen doubt paralyze artists and I've seen it spur artists onto creating wonderful works. It can do both. Do we, as artists, rise to the challenge and face doubt or do we shrink from our calling and quit? Doubt is a nasty animal - it would love for us to quit but as artists, we can't allow it to dictate our creativity - or our practice.
Doubt can also be a gift. It can move us to dig deeper into ourselves, our faith, our practice. It can be a catalyst for a new or renewed body of work. Doubt can cause us to rely on the Spirit, on ourselves, on our materials, allowing them/us to speak through the work. It gives us the freedom to play. It can allow greater sensitivity to our process which can bring breakthroughs if we receive it. Doubt is also a way for us to rely on something greater than ourselves when we run dry. It helps us to trust our instincts, trust our materials, trust our faith/God. An incredible amount of trust occurs when we are in the studio. For we start from nothing to create something that we hope, speaks. And when it does, doubt is quenched. Doubt is rendered powerless. When that happens, we have Art.
So, we need to face Doubt, embrace it when it happens. Trust our practice. Allow ourselves the freedom to explore and play. We just might end up creating something wonderful. It's worth the challenge.