Emotional Vampires and Imposter Syndrome (art workshop conversation topics)

Many things come up during a multi-day workshop, and last week’s at Higham Hall was no exception. It’s part of the fun. That said, though I could possibly have anticipated imposter syndrome being discussed, I certainly didn’t anticipate emotional vampires.

Imposter syndrome is that nagging voice of doubt that someone is going to expose you as not being a “real artist”, to point a finger and declare that you clearly don’t know what you’re doing and you should stop pretending that you do.  (Quite who that someone might be is never clear.)Thing is, it’s the doubt that makes you question and assess what you’re doing, and thus grow artistically rather than stagnating. Embrace it, but don’t  wallow in it, and use it as a motivator.

Emotional vampires are those folk who suck the energy and joy from you. That person who’s always insisting how you ought to be painting something for it to be right (and almost always this means “detailed realism”), the one  always after reassurance that their painting is good (by which they mean better than other people’s), the one perpetually armed with two L-bits of card to crop your composition to fix it. Your opinions and preferences are not invalid. Different is not inherently wrong. An urgent need to wash a paint brush will get you away from emotional vampires.

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