|Waiting in the Wings. Pastel on paper.|
Sunday, 24 June 2012
"SORRY THIS IS NOT MY BEST WORK"
I spotted this phrase recently, when someone was showing his or her work on an art website, hoping to receive some help. It took me right back to the day when a friend gave me a salutary lesson in how to express myself when talking about my work.
I was preparing for an interview for art school – hoping to be accepted as a mature student. My friend, knowing my lack of self-confidence, suggested I do a try-out interview with her.
I reluctantly agreed.
I took out some life drawings I had done at evening classes. I took a deep breath and I said something like this:
“I am afraid that these are not very good, I know…I did them only recently at my evening classes. I really struggled with the proportions, even tho we had been shown how to measure; I can see now that the heads are too big, sorry about that. Also, I found the foreshortening really rather difficult…………”
My friend stopped me right there. She was clearly exasperated. She glared at me. “Right” she said “now we change places. I am going to present this work to you”.
She then said “these are some drawings I recently did at an evening class. I have done no drawing since I was at school, and now I am in my 30’s – so I am actually delighted with these. I think I got a good sense of form in that one….and in this one I was thrilled to be able to capture the slump in the pose quite well. I know I need to improve of course, but I am sure you will be able to help me learn more.”
WHAT A DIFFERENCE. Instead of sounding apologetic and insignificant, suddenly I realised that my choice of words, and my general attitude to my own work, could dramatically alter another person’s perception of me.
This is something to consider when you have to talk about your work, or present your work to a gallery, or a potential buyer. If you put yourself down, and apologise for your work – why should anyone believe in you and in your work?
This is not to say that you should go around telling everyone how marvellous you are, and how brilliant your work is. That is a sure-fire way to drive everyone off as fast as they can run. But we all need to develop a way of being POSITIVE. There are bound to be elements of your work that you are proud of. Talk about those. See what a difference it makes to the receiver, and to your own feelings about your work, and about yourself.
There are lots of negative things I could say about the picture I have show above...............but I won't say them. Instead I will quietly put it back in the reject drawer from whence it came....................................and show you THIS one with its strong composition, believable young figure, interesting colours and tones which create a certain atmosphere which in turn tells a powerful story.........need I say more?