The way I do art is generally a solitary affair.
Me alone with my watercolors, a cup of water, some caffeine, and an audiobook in my ears is the way I most like to operate.
But when I was on a deadline painting for the Winter edition of Edible Ozarkansas a few months ago, I had to forgo my preferred method and paint whenever I had a chance.
Specifically- this put me in a situation where I was painting in front of a friendly acquaintance. While we were both focusing on our own work, we couldn't help but occasionally be drawn to what the other was doing. It was in one of these moments that she stopped what she was doing and watched me paint.
In my concentration, I didn't even notice.
After a few minutes, I looked up to her observation and shyly smiled.
"Paige! How cool!" she exclaimed. "This is what you went to school for, right?"
"No," I grimaced, "I'm totally self-taught."
"What? No one taught you how to do this? You are just... doing it? That's amazing."
Until that exact moment
I had always looked at my "self-taught" status as a mark against me.
I am a fraud. I am a woman with no formal art education. I have somehow managed to psych out the whole world by calling myself "artist". Any day, the internet police will surely confiscate this website. How dare I profess to be something so... fancy?
But my friend's sentiments flipped my thoughts of fraudulence upside down.
What if, instead of being "less than", I was "just as good, despite the difference"? What if I considered myself "more capable (or at least more persistent) since I had to figure it out myself"?
What if I stopped looking at myself in a negative and judgmental light?
What if I choose to seek out my strengths like my friends did?
The Winter 2016 Edition of Edible Ozarkansas
is now available at various locations across Northwest Arkansas and online.