My drawing professor once said to us that we should be childlike when producing our art (not childish, that is something completely different).  By that, he meant we should approach our work from the mind-set we had before there was a right way or wrong way to make art, a time when childlike exuberance drove us to create and before we let a fear of failure cause self-censorship.

As someone who is trying to make a living selling artwork, sometimes this can be a tough proposition.  You start to look at your work more with an eye toward sales and really start to become more and more judgmental with your work, causing frustration and dampening your creative spirit.  But, if you can find a way to look at your work with fresh eyes, sometimes you find that you have become over-critical.  Sometimes, you just need to find your way back to that childlike joy that brought you to becoming an artist in the first place.

I reached that place two weeks ago while I struggled with making mugs.   There was nothing different about the mugs I was working on that week as compared to others I had created in the past.  The craftsmanship was strong and the design much the same as before, but for some unknown reason I just could not be happy with the final product.  That evening, I went into yoga in a rather unpleasant mood, but ¾ of the way through class we were invited to move into Wheel Pose.  Now, I had never done Wheel Pose before, or so I thought, but I was pleasantly surprised it was nothing more than your standard gymnastics backbend.  (For those of you that do not know, I was a competitive gymnast for 10 years in my youth.)  It had been years since I had moved my body in that way and for hours afterwards I walked around with a ridiculously large, goofy grin on my face.

The (now) wonderful mugs

Having reached back (literally) into my childhood, I was invigorated and renewed and brought back to childlike joy.  Walking into my studio that evening, I looked at those mugs again – the ones that brought me so much consternation over the three days prior – and was pleasantly surprised how happy I was with the way they had turned out.  Refreshed eyes, refreshed mind, and a simple sense of glee had renewed the way I viewed my work.  I recognize that the nervousness I have been feeling over the upcoming show in September is what caused the over-critical eye.  I am happy to let that go and get back to enjoying my time in the studio again.