Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I can do anything?

I completed a commissioned portrait which is now shipped off to its new owner.

This was done in coloured pencil on a softer Rives paper.  The image was from a photo of perhaps 1960s in black and white which I coloured based on a childhood photo that was supplied.  I wanted a grainier final image that would give a bit of sense of age to the piece and I think that worked.

There is always a heart in mouth moment while waiting for a client to approve a piece.  We always fear the worst, don't we?  I believe all artists have a degree of self doubt that clings and makes us wonder about our abilities to produce.  Is it a form of self protection, to brace ourselves for the worst possible outcome - that someone actually would voice our innermost fears?  Or is it engrained humility coming from years of parents and society telling you that you should not show your abilities to the world and be boastful?

These days parents go to other extremes and constantly tell children they can do anything, be anything, conquer the world.  That is fine to a degree, but in this little video clip, I wonder how much pumping up this child has on a daily basis and how hard the fall will be when she realizes at some point, likely outside the family unit, that she actually can't do everything she wants to do.  Reality and research shows that too much positive reinforcement for every little thing a child does or produces in life is as damaging as negativity in response to their activities.

I am the first to say that a person can achieve what they want, provided they are willing to put in the effort - the 10,000 hours.  I deal a lot with youth in my job and have found that they are frequently bound up in the 'I can do anything' mode but are not willing or able to put in the work to achieve it.  It is, in fact, the parents who often deal with the ins and outs that the youth should be.  Confused? I know I am.  The message that is sent is 'you can do anything you like, but I'll take care of the parts you don't enjoy'. 


Ernest Friedman-Hill said...

One of the video responses echos your sentiments perfectly, I think:

A Brush with Color said...

Well said. I saw that video before and was pretty amazed. Your portrait is beautiful--I'd say in your case, "you CAN do anything," Jeanette!

Jeanette said...

Yep, that's about it too Ernest LOL

Thanks Sue. To be honest, the video scares me a little. Precocious children make me worry for their future as there is often a pushy parent(s) behind them. I see the results of that when these kids turn into young adults. Some good, some scarily bad.

Kerry said...

Wow, that's a very thought provoking clip, I think the Uncle Toby/Nestle adds to the negative punch for me. I wonder what this kid is like to play with?

RHCarpenter said...

Whew! That kid would wear me out in an hour or less. Coming from a background where one was not overly praised, it does make you realize that not everyone is going to love you or even like you - for whatever reasons. But when the praise comes, you know you've deserved it and it's not just for being :) Good food for thought here. And I really like your portrait. I was watching a documentary of Joan Mitchell, the Chicago native abstract painter. She called her alter-egos Big Joan (who took care of things and protected the other) and Little Joan. Little Joan painted and was delicate. Big Joan was strong and kept the work coming or told Little Joan to put a sock in it and get busy - I think we all have those aspects inside ourselves.