Joy is Enough Reason

I get it, you don’t want to share your work. You’re not good enough. It doesn’t match the painting you had in your imagination when you started the piece. Everyone else sketches better.


I know you know what I’m going to say next: There will always be people who judge you. Let’s look at that. How do you decide which of the myriad people who judge you is right in their judgement? The truth is, at the very bottom line, you are judging the people who are judging you…which ultimately means you are the Judge who is judging your work.

Did you know that underneath this self-judgement there are layers of joy urging you to create art? Sharing your work is a way to help yourself access those layers of joy.


I know. It can feel traumatic thinking about sharing your work. If you’re still sketching in secret, start sharing slowly. Find a person who has always been encouraging to you and tell them you’ve been sketching in secret, you’re trying to break your own self-judgement, and you think by sharing you might release yourself from some of this self-judgement. I also tell them that I’m not looking for critique and ask them to keep their comments related to the event, item, or scene depicted, not to the quality of the art. When you show them your work tell them one art-related thing that you really liked about this sketch, one thing (did you see that? ONE THING, meaning one item, don’t go on and on about all the things you judge to be wrong, one thing is enough), and end by telling them how it felt when you were sketching it.

That’s all. Let’s do it now.


I call this Big Bike Rider. I love the way I got the trees in the foreground and the feeling of a skyline across the bay. I got the bike rider way out of proportion, but am still proud of this because it was the first time I ever tried a bike rider. I had so much fun sitting in the park that day, looking at everything closely and deciding what to sketch.

You see? You can do that. Today I’ve shared three cityscapes I’ve drawn over the past year. I’m getting better and better at depicting the bay’s scene. I’ve been concentrating on learning perspective. I keep drawing the bay because it gives me joy.

We can never know what others know, so why let them control our work? Work for the joy.



One thought on “Joy is Enough Reason

  1. I like all of these, the bike rider looks fine, fits into to the scene well.
    What you said about sharing makes me think of my painting group, there is a new fellow, he started coming last year. He runs a group up North in the summer. A lot of groups paint for a few hours and then they share their paintings and have a critique. Some people love it and others hate it, feelings can sometimes get hurt.
    So this fellow said instead of the critique, he has everyone get up and say what they like about their painting. They can leave it at that or ask for help or suggestions. It was fun, interesting to hear the thoughts behind the paintings.
    I am also thinking I should put up one of my paintings on my blog, its a couple of birds in front of some water lilies. There was something bothering me about it so I didn’t put it up. It finally clicked, the birds are too small or lilies too large. Probably no one would know except me.


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