The Courageous Heart

Art to Heart, oil on canvas

Art comes from the heart. No question about it. The brain may be involved but the flow of creativity is a direct result of the heart’s willingness to put on paper, canvas, clay, wood or whatever the chosen medium is, what is inside. In some it is cloth and thread. Others it is flour or spice or herb and the oven. Art comes in many forms. Design is art. As is the work in a garden. In each and every case, that work comes from the heart. Whether one is a professional or hobbyist or somewhere in between, it is the heart that makes the creativity happen. It takes a great deal of courage to lay that heart out for the world to see in whatever creative form it takes. So what happens to that heart when the eyes that see become the mouth that hurts? What if you have your work before critical eyes that go with a brutal mouth?

The question is one that takes courage to look at and courage to work through. Sometimes one unthinking, ugly response to one’s heartfelt expression of creativity can be enough to stop a person from ever creating again. Or severely limiting what is done or shown to the critical eye. Wounds take time to heal. The deeper and more heartfelt they are, the longer and tougher the healing time. Can that pain be stopped cold in its tracks? Can one stare down the arrows that come from an uncaring, insensitive soul? Yes it can! It must be confronted directly in whatever form that takes. Not in repaying barb for barb but binding up the wound and standing up to block the barbs. Deflecting each and every barb where possible. To turn the thrown darts back at the thrower is also effective when to do so can be done without taking part in dart throwing in return.

When critical darts are unthinkingly hurled, stand up and refuse to let them hit the target. It takes courage to put your heart out there through an art. Stand on that courage. The look at what is hurled and see if it can be broken down into something constructive. Many times it is simply constructive criticism thrown in a harsh, thoughtless manner. Dissect what is there. Is there something to be learned and taken to heart? There is the healing. Was what was said coming from a bitter heart? Then show pity. There is healing there too. If there is learning to be had from a brutal critique, take it in and turn it from a rock into a diamond, with gratitude. Gratitude is a great healer. If the ugliness comes from an equally ugly heart, smile. A smile makes lots of ugliness go away.

Like Georgia O”keeffe says : “To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”  So take up your courage and throw some paint on canvas! I wrote about the courage to paint in one of my first blog posts several years ago.

Some of the greatest creators of all time were once brutally rejected. Here they are in this post: The Power of Rejection.

Here is a post about how to keep your heart singing: The Singing Heart

Stand up. Stand strong. And let your heart sing!

4 Comments on “The Courageous Heart

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts on how to deal with critique. I like what you say about understanding the motivation of the critic. That is a powerful aid for any artist facing criticism.

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