Be kinder

Sometimes I forget to give myself credit when things go right. Even more often I beat myself up when I perceive they have gone wrong.

My painting Out was trickier than expected. Not for the reason I had anticipated, as in the challenging position of the body, but due to the face, which I hadn't even flagged up as a potential issue.

Experiences rarely turn out the way you think and this one definitely tested me in unforeseen ways. The level of frustration I felt through the painting process was a first for a start. To the point I could easily have chucked it in the bin at several stages!

But I did persevere and managed to get it to a point that I was happy with. It was an immense relief and I was proud I'd seen it through.

I need to chose my reference pictures carefully to ensure they are clear and sharp enough for up-close scrutinisation. In many cases I use a combination of several photos that I like different aspects about and bring them together in one composition. But the quality of the images needs to be there in the first place otherwise I can't call on my powers of observation to pull me through the mire.

But the other lesson this has taught me is to be kinder to myself. I was incredibly hard on myself and my own worst critic. Producing a painting that I didn't immediately love did something weird to me. I've always said I only want to produce paintings I love and would want hanging in my home.

But I'm pleased to report I do love Whether that's due to the warm reception it's received from others could be one reason. But I'm hoping it's more to do with an acknowledgement that I've lifted my standards and expectations of myself and am demanding so much more. I have come a long way in a short space of time and a year ago I probably wouldn't have believed I was capable of such a painting, let alone be passing myself off as a professional artist.

Things had not gone wrong here, the process was just different, and the mind games I played with myself along the way were more intense.

So I will remind myself to give credit where it's due but I will also try to be less harsh on myself and accept that I am not a machine and some processes and experiences will be less enjoyable than others.

Don't be so hard on yourself. Be a little harder on yourself. Learn from your experiences. Don't dwell on things. Get on with your life.

Cathy Moriarty

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