Don’t Look! Yet.

Don’t Look! Yet.

In my article on Artistic Atmosphere, I wrote about how I tend to like a quiet space all to myself where I can work – and finish – in total peace. I don’t much like anyone watching me work. However, this extends past art.

I just don’t like the feeling of anyone standing over my shoulder observing me do anything, even if it’s something as boring as cleaning the bathroom or folding the laundry. Some people can be oblivious to it but the second I see someone staring at what I’m doing – especially if they are there for awhile – I have to resist the urge to start shrieking, “What? What?? WHAT???” Of course, no one knows this because I never do that. I may calmly ask “What’s up?” and if the answer is “Oh, nothing,” yet they continue to watch, I may eventually find an excuse to move onto something else.

I guess can be somewhat OCD about my personal space.

I tend to be the same way about my art. But what if you’re in the middle of a really, really great piece? When you’re just so inspired you can’t wait until you finish to show someone? Do you show them? Or do you wait until you’re done?

I’ve done both.

I usually don’t like to show anyone what I’ve created until it’s done. Completely done, signed and everything. I found that when I showed people something when I was right in the middle of it, they often stared at it, totally confused. Then they would say something like, “What’s that supposed to be?”

I had to remind myself that just because it was obvious to me didn’t mean it was going to be obvious to everyone else. Especially, when the thing wasn’t even finished. But it would sort of dampen the excitement I had that propelled me to show anyone in the first place. I thought if I was going to take it personally, I should probably hold back on showing until my piece was done. If they still criticize it after that, I may be disappointed but the artwork is already done. So, I just move on!

When I was in art school, I spent my classes working on an assignment. The teacher would come around and make suggestions or comments. Now, most of the time, I liked this. After all, I was there to learn. I didn’t like it if it was one of those days where my hand refused to do what I wanted it to. Then I would cringe every time the teacher passed by. I knew that what I was creating was terrible and he or she was definitely going to tell me about it.

Once, I was in a drawing class having a bad day. I couldn’t draw to save my life that day. I don’t know why. Since nothing was going right, at one point I went left. Meaning, I switched hands. I was joking with the girl who sat next to me. I told her I might as well draw with my left hand since I couldn’t do anything with the right one. After that, I had no expectations that I could make anything decent. So, I actually enjoyed the rest of the class.

The teacher circled back around after I’d drawn with my left hand for while. He said, “Wow, that looks great! What’d you do?”

After writing this, I realized that it just goes to show what can happen when you let go of the need for results.

I’m not quite as picky about letting people see my progress as I used to be. I even plan to show the stages of my artwork here on this site soon. Maybe it’s because I have small children constantly peeking over my shoulder. Everything is new to their eyes. They are always asking what it is I’m supposed to be drawing. Though sometimes, they surprise me.

How do you prefer to handle the showing of your art? Do you like showing the work in progress? Or do you hide everything away, shooting warning looks at anyone who comes near until you’ve signed your name? 😀


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