— I’ve been watching it happen for too long not to catch onto the pattern. You don’t need to be a genius to spot it.
Photographers and fledgling artists join our AWAKE group when it opens each year, and when they first turn up in our private Facebook group you can already sense their apprehension, their uncertainty.
The self-doubt is almost stifling.
But then they dive into the training . . . and they discover some very important things:
— First, they quickly realize that this is training unlike anything they’ve experienced before. (That much almost goes without saying.)
— They also find their library of content rapidly filling with pro-quality material sure to make any artist feel more confident.
But most importantly, they discover something quite unexpected and grand:
— They SEE, for themselves, how top pro artists create their finest work . . . they see how it is done, layer by layer and technique by technique . . . And suddenly, through seeing it done by others, it all becomes POSSIBLE to them as well.
This shouldn’t be taken lightly. This is no trivial point.
So often in our lives (and I’d say especially in our creative lives) we allow our self-doubt to hold us back, to rein in our capabilities, to keep us small.
It’s not that we can’t do something, it’s that we don’t even try.
And I’m convinced that one of the reasons we don’t try is that we simply haven’t seen it done. In part, granted, we don’t know HOW to do it yet, but (and this is the important point) we don’t even try to find out, we don’t even make the effort.
This is one of the great secrets behind the talent we see emerge within our AWAKE group each year. The artists in AWAKE get to see behind the veil, as it were. They get to see how great artists work, and get to see, first-hand, how great art is created.
Seeing it makes it possible to them on some level . . . and knowing it is possible, seeing others do it, seeing each other soon creating art at this level — the whole self-limiting edifice falls away.
I witness this every year.
I see it most clearly in the quality of the images posted to our private Facebook groups and the images submitted for our magazine each month.
The pattern is obvious in hindsight.
Artists come in uncertain, riddled with doubt. And their work (or lack of work) shows it.
But very soon, as they witness first-hand the steps by which great art is created — in the training itself and through the examples set by their peers — it’s as if they find themselves awake for the first time . . . and they soon discover that they, too, can create such things.
What has suddenly turned out to be possible . . . becomes expected.
And they are right to expect it.
Does it take work? Does it take practice? Does it take dedication?
But that’s all part of it, isn’t it? That’s part of what they learn in the course and from their peers.
And as the year progresses the bar gets raised.
Which in turn pulls everyone up with it.
Seeing other artists create like this (seeing them live like this) changes everything.
Whatever you wish to achieve, if it seems beyond you, just get around others who are already doing it. It won’t seem beyond you long. You’ll pick up what it takes. You’ll step into that new identity.
Want to climb Kilimanjaro? Go find some people who have done it. Spend time around them. You’ll find soon enough that it’s not as impossible as you might have imagined. A challenge? Sure. But you knew that. The thing is, it’s now a challenge you can meet. It’s now possible. At some point, it’s something you just expect you’ll step up and do yourself as well.
It’s the same with becoming a serious artist. (Which has the added advantage of being rather less harrowing.)
If you wish to become an artist, get in with other artists, learn to work as they work.
The example they set will transform your view of what is possible.
This is one of the great miracles I see enacted within our group of artists each year.
And I tell you . . . it never fails to delight.
PS: If you’re currently enrolled in my Photoshop Artistry “Fine Art Grunge” course, you qualify for joining our AWAKE group on January 1st. It only opens one or two days a year, so you may want to put it in your calendar. I’ll be making announcements about it just prior. If you want to transform your creative life, this really is where you will want to be in 2018. Hope to see you there!