Old butcher's porcelain pigs head and "Go" sign in my studio

Life lessons an artist can teach you – Part 2

This is Part 2 of an ongoing series that came about when someone called me wise. I wondered if it was because I’m an artist and we have to deal with these things every day. See Part 1 here.

6. Think big, dream big and go for it! I spent a lot of time reading inspirational quotes like “Just do it!” and wondering “but how?” Truthfully, you won’t ever know how until you begin, come up against something that tricks you and you have to work it out. Just don’t let those little tricks and trip-ups stop you.

7. Learn to “eat the elephant”. Have you heard that phrase before? Q: “How do you eat an elephant?” A: “One bite at at time.” When we have big goals and we start to work towards them it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but if you keep the elephant in mind you’ll be making progress. Break your big goals down into steps. (Remember even these steps you come up with don’t have to be perfect! You can always adjust them later. They are a place to begin.) Next work out what is the next action you can take. It’s that simple. Every time you complete an action ask yourself “What is the next action I need to take to progress towards my goal?” Take that action. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat…

8. Colour outside the lines – exceed the common boundaries. Boundaries are just a form of limiting beliefs. I used to think I was bad at art because some of my colouring in would stray outside the lines. (It still does!) Life is full of these lines – boundaries, rules, protocols and even niceties. Now I’m not suggesting you stop being nice, but sometimes when you are being true to yourself, it means saying “No” instead of “Yes” and ignoring some of the rules.
Artist's brushes
9. Learn the rules so you can break them in a considered way. It’s a common thing to be told during an art education that “you need to know the rules – then you can break them”. That’s what great art, art that moves you, confounds you, takes your breath away is – art that breaks the rules. This applies to other areas of life too. Cooking – want to add balsamic vinegar to that? Go ahead! Holidays – want to go somewhere extreme? Go ahead! Business – want to make a unique mark on the business world? Go ahead! However, all of these examples could end up horribly wrong – if you don’t know the rules or conventions for that area or field. Once you do, don’t forget to have a go at breaking the rules in a constructive and creative way.

10. Be accepting when you change your mind. It’s creative editing. I used to be horrified if I let a big goal or new commitment go. “Why am I such a flake? I’m a fraud.” The truth is I’m not a flakey fraud (so there!) What I am is human. Sometimes you find out that what you thought you wanted, isn’t actually right for you. Conversely, sometimes we find out we aren’t meant for whatever it was. We change our minds as we progress through life. Actually it would be strange if we didn’t. How can we know everything, every step when we begin? We can’t and what we learn along the way means we need to change our minds from time to time.

I hope you are enjoying this series. Part 3 will be along in a couple of weeks. The photos in this post are all from my studio, including the old butcher’s porcelain pigs head. I’ll show you more of my studio soon too. Have a great week!

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