How to build self-confidence and avoid mistakes that destroy creativity

Most artists want to sell their work.

Many famous artists, fail miserably in sales.

Vincent Van Gogh only sold 1 painting in his life.

Vincent VanGogh self portrait

Top quality local artists also struggle to get the attention they deserve.

Ending up in jobs making them terribly unhappy.

Common Problem: Creative individuals often ignore the development of an important part of themselves…. Self Confidence.

The creative personality is remarkably shy.

Often very introverted.

Some artists struggle to gather the confidence to show artwork to family. Let alone exhibit in public.

Like Vincent Van Gogh, artists are often highly sensitive people, more comfortable being alone, rather than telling the world how great they are.

It’s vitally important artists build self-confidence and interact with society. Because the public need fresh ideas. They need creative vision.

Point 1. An artist’s visionary ability is extremely valuable to non-creative people.

Proud Pelican drawing by Simon Brushfield How to build self confidence and avoid mistakes that destroy creativity

‘Proud Pelican’ by Simon Brushfield Charcoal, acrylic & linseed oil on paper 70cm x 60cm (Private Acquisition)

Yesterday, I got my haircut.

Through the mirror, I could tell my hairdresser was brilliant. Very creative. She had a vision for my hair. I observed an artist at work.

So I gave her a compliment.

Lacking confidence, she blushed and found it very difficult to accept the comment. Artists lack confidence in different areas of life.

Especially when selling their creative work.

Point 2. One of the biggest fears for artists is talking about money to prospective customers.

Ok, if you’ve ever thought any of these self-limiting beliefs below, realize you are not alone. We all experience silly thinking sometimes. I have heard many creative people say things that defeat themselves without realizing it.

Here’s 10 Confidence Killers that could really ruin any creative ability you may have…

1. “I’m afraid to talk about money and put a price on my art.”
2. “I mustn’t show people the ‘real me’ it will be embarrassing.”
3. “I’m not worthy or I don’t deserve my dreams coming true.”
4. “I must do things perfectly before I show anyone else.”
5. “I’m always competing with other artists. Life is a competition”
6. “I always compare myself to others. They’re better than me”
7. “I must beat that other person.”
8. “I don’t want to draw attention to myself or stand out too much”
9. “I expect the people I love to support everything I do.”
10. “I will do whatever the person wants because he/she has the money.”

But we need to stop those thoughts quickly, before they become subconscious self-defeating habits.

So, how do we build confidence?

Anyone can be confident.

Point 3. Building confidence is about understanding the value we offer people.

It can be anything really.

Everyone has something unique to give. Every single person on this planet has something valuable to give the world.

Every day, I guarantee there will be someone in your life who wants something from you that is valuable to them.

Right?

One way to is to negotiate for that value. Selling the painting below was a negotiation process.

Sydney Harbour Sunrise painting by Simon Brushfield 1024x963 How to build self confidence and avoid mistakes that destroy creativity

“Sydney Harbour Sunrise” by Simon Brushfield (2004) Acrylic & Oil on canvas 1m x 1m (Sold: Private Acquisition)

Then practice your craft often to increase confidence.

What’s important here is the negotiation process.

The process of building self-confidence relates to understanding the value we offer people.

Point 4. Don’t think you have nothing of value to offer. It’s a lie. We all have something valuable to give.

It’s how this world was set up.

When we understand the true value we offer – our confidence grows.

Once a small victory is achieved. This builds confidence for higher level negotiations.

Here’s 7 benefits of being confident in life…

1. Confidence helps you move towards taking important risks.
2. Confidence provides hope to make dreams become real.
3. Confidence helps people grow and establish you as an expert.
4. Confidence helps people experience greater levels of freedom.
5. Confidence acts as armor in the battle against opposition.
6. Confidence brings success and respect to an artist’s creative ability.
7. Ultimately, being confident gives people control over their own life.

When finishing a painting. I need to love it.

This feeling builds my confidence. Then my art becomes more valuable.

I really need that confidence to negotiate and sell the artwork.

Point 4. In a humble way, I wholeheartedly believe my art is valuable. It’s very special to me.

Each artwork, for different reasons, is valuable.

Like my drawing below titled ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

The soft sensitivity of the line work captures a peaceful mood, which brings value to the drawing. I love the gentle quietness.

Nude female sleeping by Simon Brushfield 1024x821 How to build self confidence and avoid mistakes that destroy creativity

‘Sleeping Beauty’ by Simon Brushfield Conte pencil on paper. approx 70cm x 60cm (For Sale: $750)

Below are some practical steps artists need to consider when selling original art in a professional gallery.

These 5 considerations will help build confidence to become a successful professional artist

1. Artwork needs to be aligned to local market prices
2. Gallery should be reasonably well respected and nicely positioned
3. Artwork should be made from quality long lasting products
4. The artist needs to love the artwork and wholeheartedly believe the work is valuable. (Even if nobody else does)
5. Artists sometimes need a mentor to provide genuine support.

Do you have any confidence issues? I would love to hear your responses in the comments box below… If you liked this article and want more, just leave your email address in the sign up form below.

How to Build Self Confidence by Simon Brushfield How to build self confidence and avoid mistakes that destroy creativity

If you’re interested to purchase or know more about Simon Brushfield’s original paintings click here .

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – How to build self-confidence and avoid mistakes that destroy creativity

Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

What does the Australian identity mean today?

The Australian identity has always been unique. We have a very special culture.

During October 2012 the Melbourne festival brings the international art community to Australia to celebrate our iconic culture.

Popular Australian artist Tom Roberts lived in the bush in the early 1900′s and captured the pioneering Aussie spirit.

Celebrating the rural lifestyle he wrote, ‘being in the bush and feeling the delight and fascination of the great pastoral life and work, I have tried to express it.’

Tom Roberts Shearing the Rams Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

‘Shearing the Rams’ (1890) by Tom Roberts. Oil on canvas on composition board
122.4 x 183.3 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Felton Bequest, 1932

The artistic images that represent Australia are deeply embedded in our collective unconscious and stem from a rich bush heritage and the courageous pioneers who shaped our country.

Ranging from the rugged bush to the beautiful coastlines, the Australian identity has always been at the heart of the unique artwork we produce.

Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson wrote poetry romanticising the bush lifestyle, whilst Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton produced cherished paintings of sunlit landscapes and the bushman’s spirit.

Tom Robert’s artwork above expresses a common phrase in Australian folklore. Stating the country ‘was built on the sheep’s back’. Arthur Streeton’s painting below, depicts an Australian landscape which helped build the wool industry.

Wide open spaces characterise our rough and rugged special countryside.

Arthur Streeton The golden fleece Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

‘Land of the Golden Fleece’ (1926) by Arthur Streeton. Oil on canvas, 50.7 x 75.5 cm. National Gallery of Australia, the Oscar Paul Collection, gift of Henriette van Dallwitz

Much of the abstract art I produce and sell to international customers purposefully has an Australian identity underpinning the work. My painting below was sold through the Convent Gallery.

This series has been very popular with customers.

Described as ‘one of Australia’s most beautiful galleries’ it’s located within a small country town of Daylesford and epitomises the Australian country scene.

International visitors appreciate my large abstract paintings because within the context of a country gallery they capture a unique essence of Australia and our cultural identity derived from native gum trees.

The painting below is one of many in my ‘Eucalypt’ series.

Eucalypt painting by Simon Brushfield Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

‘Eucalypt’ (2001) by Simon Brushfield Oil & Acrylic on Canvas 1.8m x 1.4m (Sold: Private Acquisition)

The Melbourne Festival will be holding talks on the topic of the Australian identity. Famous cultural commentators will present lectures at The Wheeler Centre during October 2012. For more information call the Arts Centre Melbourne 1300 182 183 or visit the website www.melbournefestival.com.au
I would love to hear your responses in the comments box below… If you liked this post and want more, just leave your email address in the sign up form below.

Valuable Lessons I Learnt in Art School

This art post features the creative lessons I learnt in art school.

People often ask me ‘how long did that painting take to create’?

Sometimes quietly thinking to themselves, ‘my child could do that’. Art challenges people. Especially, conceptual art. But art school taught me most of all, to challenge the way people think.

Because mostly, they need it.

Behind this question ‘how long did that take’ is a quiet cynicism about artists. Even famous artists like Matisse, who’s paintings and drawings are sold for multi-millions of dollars, are criticised for their simplicity.

Henri Matisse | Patitcha souriante (Patitcha smiling) 1947 | Purchased 1993 with funds from the International Exhibitions Program | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © Henri Matisse 1947/Succession H Matisse/Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney, 2011

Depending upon the person, I respond to the question ‘how long did it take?’ tongue in cheek, with either of two answers ‘5 minutes’ or ‘40 years’.

The paintings in the video below were bought for healthy prices in 2002, by a high profile school in Australia named Xavier College. The institution wasn’t concerned how long my paintings took to paint, nor did they say about my simplistic paintings ‘my child could do that’.


Download Video with Vixy.net |

Valuable Lesson 1. Genuine art collectors or art buying institutions collect painting’s they love, artwork that means something to the buyer. Customers connect to an artistic concept.

Sometimes my abstract art looks simple, but the customer buys the concept and the meaning behind the painting. They also trust my artistic judgment and authority from decades as an artist.

Strangely enough, conceptual thinking often brings the artist in a full circle, back to simplicity. Hence, the comment ‘my child could do that’. I agree that some modern art is mindless, but what people mostly see is a simplified solution disregarding the creative thinking behind the final result.

Like most professions, the complexities of a problem and the hours of deep reflection or chaotic confusion to reach clarity in a final piece, is mostly hidden from the layperson.

Valuable Lesson 2: Experienced artists and philosophers will tell you, achieving simplicity is a complicated process.

For my tertiary education, I was fortunate enough to live in an old mining town, attending the University of Ballarat. I lived in an old miners cottage with my beloved great aunt Glen and completed my Bachelor of Visual Arts.

At university I studied all the great masters of Art & Design. I was fascinated by the practice and history of Art. It was a very interesting period of my life. I was a curious 18 year old art student, living with my 80 year old eccentric aunt.

It was an experience I fondly remember, a world of extreme contrasts where my creative thinking flourished. Thankfully, I was forced to integrate two weird extremes in my life.

One extreme was my wayward free thinking creative friends, on the other extreme, was my very conservatively and celebate Catholic auntie, who had devoted her life entirely to Jesus.

Valuable Lesson 3: Integrating extremes in life, enhances your creativity and makes life more interesting.

Every evening I was instructed, by great aunt Glen to arrive home from university for 5pm dinner. This routine was a little odd, but fine by me. One night, I invited my girlfriend for dinner and introduced her to my great aunt.

Dinner went without any hitches, but then relaxing together in front of the television, I put my arm around my girlfriend. This brought a sharp rebuke from Glen and caused great embarrassment for my girlfriend.

On another occasion my great aunt Glen was rudely shocked by the nude drawings I’d created at university. ‘Oh Simon, the naked body should be kept hidden!’ Yet, the renaissance master artists proclaimed the human body was the pinnacle of natural perfection and beauty.

Here’s what I learned in ceramics class:

I loved this class, but it wasn’t my strength. What I discovered was that if the clay hadn’t dried out, it can always be reused and remodeled for another pot. In life we all make mistakes, we need to be patient with ourselves. Thankfully, we can scrap the old broken project and remodel our lives and create a better pot.

Valuable Lesson 4. Patience is essential in the creative process.

Sometimes during class, my clay pot would become lopsided and spin out of control on the wheel. I figured that was ok, the pot wasn’t meant to be. So I’d begin remolding the wet clay and start the process over. Miraculously, my next pot stayed symmetrical and was created perfectly.

The principle of patience in art is essential. If we are patient and persistent, the right artwork will somehow create itself, but it might take some time and many attempts before your creative universe is properly aligned.

Every drawing is beautiful in some way. Even a child’s drawing. You have probably heard the saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ well this holds true for art.

Here’s what I learnt in drawing class:

I was reasonably competent at drawing and I thought sometimes, I’d produced a beautiful drawing. During class we would have a nude model to draw and after a 30minute pose, I would quietly think to myself, I had just created a masterpiece.

Valuable Lesson 5: No matter how brilliant and talented you might be, there is always someone better than you.

But then I would proudly take a stroll around the studio to view my classmate’s drawings. Wow, there was so much talent in the room! So many beautiful drawings, it shocked and humbled me.

Especially this one girl named Fiona, she needed only to hold a piece of charcoal in her fingers and the paper would come alive with her wonderful artistic ability. I quickly came to understand…

Valuable Lesson 6: Because we are all so unique, competition is futile.

I have always looked at the great master drawings and been surprised by how simple the lines appear, especially for a master like Matisse. His drawings are incredibly basic, childlike but beautiful. Sophisticated in their simplicity.

I am quite confident to suggest it was his belief in his own lines that made other people believe too, that his artwork was exceptional. He wasn’t competing with anybody, just content to draw what he saw in life from his own unique interpretation and perspective.

6 Good reasons to be yourself and be radically unique

  1. Being yourself is the foundation of excellence.
  2. Plato the great philosopher said, ‘know thy self’.
  3. The bible says you’ve been created as Gods masterpiece.
  4. Being yourself creates joy for you and freedom for other people.
  5. Life is very short and people need the specialness you offer.
  6. There is peace and restfulness when you stop trying to be someone else.

Here’s what I learned in painting class:

Like most disciplines, theoretical rules learnt in the classroom are broken all the time. At university, I was amazed by my friend Fiona who’s paintings contained anything and everything she could find.

It was clear she was not operating according to the wishes of her teachers, friends, a gallery owner, or classmates. She used dirt, twigs, leaves, nail polish anything could be included into her mysterious paintings.

Fiona’s creativity was exceptionally unique. Every stroke of the paintbrush held incredible painterly quality. When she used color it was perfect, not too much, not too little, just the right amount.

She wore interesting clothes that expressed her unique personality and individual style. By being herself, unconcerned what others thought, she broke the fashion rules in unique and interesting ways.

Valuable Lesson 7: There are no rules in creativity enjoy your artistic freedom.

Sometimes, our lecturers at university would recommend mixing certain colors together because they were complimentary colors. My lecturers would disapprove of the wrong hues mixed together in a composition. But when Fiona mixed the colors, somehow the painting looked amazing.

As a senior lecturer teaching Art & Design, I am aware of the theoretical principles. However, I also strive to avoid teaching strict rules in creativity. What works for one person, may or may not work for the next person.

What was the most valuable things you learnt at College? I would love to hear your responses in the comments box below…

Aireys Inlet lighthouse painting – Victoria’s Great Ocean Road

lighthouse painting by simon brushfield Aireys Inlet lighthouse painting   Victorias Great Ocean Road

‘Aireys Lighthouse’ by Simon Brushfield (2004) Acrylic, Oil & Charcoal on canvas. 100cm x 80cm $2200

Fine Art by Simon Brushfield created for an exhibition titled ‘Selected Contemporary Australian Art’. This painting depicts a contemporary version of the Aireys Inlet lighthouse on the great ocean road along the Victorian Coastline.

Spacecraft painting on backing cloth created by many layers of screen printing

Moments when you walk by a shop can change everything.

Spacecraft is a creative company that produces amazing abstract art and uses these original images on t-shirts, bed linen, men’s and women’s clothing, as well screen printed paintings on backing cloth. Commercially successful and very beautiful abstract art.

Spacecraft creates art that aggressively grabs your heart, reaching in through your eyes, reminding you how beautiful and curiously intriguing life and art can be. It was difficult to leave the shop, my eye’s wanted more.

Recently, I was walking through Brighton in Melbourne and a painting was hanging on the wall of a women’s dress shop. My eyes were transfixed. The image lured me in to the shop and I asked the shopkeeper who created the painting behind the cashier?

“Spacecraft” she said.

This was the second time a spacecraft image had aggressively captured my attention. The first time was in a surf shop in Manly Sydney many years ago, when the art was only just emerging onto the commercial scene. On both occasions, I was caught by chance and the experience left me moved and inspired.

Art lovers take notice. This company is very cool. Abstract artists based in Melbourne and they’re creativity is flourishing. I strongly recommend abstract art lovers to look up their stuff on http://spacecraftaustralia.com/.

Pictured on my post are two screen printed images on backing cloth and they’re a similar abstract style to which I saw in the Melbourne dress shop. Researching the Spacecraft website I read the words “intriguing chance association” which appropriately describes the art, but it also describes how I have come to know and love Spacecraft.

Life, especially a life devoted to art, means that sometimes walking along the street you might encounter an “intriguing chance association”.

Spacecraft Abstract art on backing cloth

Spacecraft stores are now located in:

Victoria; 225 Gertrude St. Fitzroy VIC Australia +61 (0)3 9486 0010

New South Wales; Planet Commonwealth  – 114 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, Sydney – 02 9211 5959

Also in Western Australia; VENN  16 Queen Street Perth 0405 127 427 www.venn.net

‘Dusk on the River’ by Simon Brushfield (2010) Acrylic on board 90cm x 70cm (Sold: Private Acquisition)

Park bench Australian Park Bench abstract painting by Simon Brushfield $7,000

‘Park bench’ by Simon Brushfield (2009) Oil & Acrylic on Canvas. Approx 1.9m x 1.6m For Sale $7,000

This large painting by Simon Brushfield celebrates the outdoors lifestyle synonymous with Australians. There are many beautiful parks and gardens located through-out the nation where children play, adults talk over a sausage on the BBQ, singles read books, young people play sport, either cricket or kick the footy with mates. This painting is an abstract interpretation of those special moments in parklands around Australia where people meet and enjoy being together participating in their favourite past time.

‘Eucalypt II’ (sold)
Acrylic and Oil on canvas, 2001
1.8m x 1.4m by Simon Brushfield


‘Eucalypt II’ (sold)
Acrylic and Oil on canvas, 2001
1.8m x 1.4m by Simon Brushfield