Peony Workshop Results

Don’t Compare

I came across something this past week that reminded of an Aha I had while viewing the Matisse exhibit a few years back.

I can’t compare my rough drafts with someone else’s finished masterpiece.

Yet I fall victim to this all the time and people in my workshops often do the same thing. We’re too hard on ourselves. We forget we aren’t seeing the process and the experiments of the masters. We don’t ever see the bits and pieces lying in closets, sitting on a hard drive or consigned to the trash.

Don't Compare

Our work is as unique as our signature and that comparison can be helpful. I never worry that my signature doesn’t look like someone else’s. It doesn’t even cross my mind. (Not to mention that would be illegal.)

That’s why we shouldn’t compare our efforts to the person sitting next to us in a workshop or even worse, hanging in a gallery. We are learning about tools and techniques, just like we did in school as we learned to sign our names. Be gentle with your inner artist.

There IS a lot to learn by studying the work of others who have mastered their craft. Just don’t try to BE them.

Let’s be ourselves

So next time my inner voice says “I wish I could paint like…” I’ll remind myself that it’s better if I let myself paint like me.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Compare”

  1. Oh, Aprille, this is such an important lesson. And dare I add that we should not compare ourselves to each other even in your wonderful Creative Fire Café? It’s an insidious habit and one that serves no one at all. I have found everyone in your group to be so supportive and genuinely relishing in each other’s creative accomplishments. But if there are any lurking feelings of “why can’t I do that?” or “what’s wrong with me?” we must resolve to banish them, over and over again.

    1. Totally agree, Elizabeth. Those thought habits are so easy to slip into and as you say, we have to banish them over and over. I’ve found it becomes easier over time but never totally goes away.

  2. Aprille,

    I love that you emphasize that we just need to be who we are and paint/draw/write like ourselves. I love to be inspired by other artists and their journey, yet there is usually a bit of a let-down when I pick up the pen or brush. You remind us that we tend to our own creativity and let that flow. Being tender to the inner artist is part of my daily practice now.

    Thank you,


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