The Most Important Artistc Skill: Self Talk

Posted May 23 2016

We all know that to be artists, we need to learn to see. But there’s something almost more important (or equally important): learning to talk. And I don’t mean talking about our art or our process. I mean it’s important to learn how to talk to ourselves.

Negative self talk can be a bigger obstacle to learning to paint than any physical skill. “I’ll never be any good. I’m too old. Why start?” All these keep us from picking up the brush that first time and there is plenty of negative talk even after we’ve made it down the path a bit. “I’ll never get better. No one likes my work. I’ll never find my voice.”

In his book, “Making Your Creative Mark,” Eric Maisel writes, “Creating depends on having a mind quiet enough to allow ideas to bubble up.” And you know what isn’t quiet? Negative self talk. Negative self talk shouts us down before we even get started. It’s the voice that once we have started, can trip us up along our path. It’s the voice that can tell us to stop, turn, and walk away at every achievement.

This is why in order to get better at art, we need to fine tune our most important tool: Ourselves. We need to make sure we’re training our mind (and not just our eyes) for a lifetime of art.


How is your self talk? Tell us below in the comments.


Artist Kelly Anne Powers is working on her own self talk and writes about it at her blog: