How do I grow?

The age old question?  How does an artist continue to grow?  It seems for me this question is something that reoccurs over and over.  So, lets have the discussion. 

At the moment I believe that we as artists needs to always be developing.  To always be looking.  And always be learning.  Saying this just doesn’t mean to hold the pencil a different way or a new medium in the the paint or even use a different kind of clay.  Eventhough, this is valid to me, there is more.

I have recently been honored in being asked and to be involved in critiques with a number of groups.  So many people are cautious to be in a critique.  Too many people have conducted them and not fully controlled them.  Yes, critiques can expose a person, but how an individual utilizes that information is the difference between success and failure.  How I receive the feedback is a challenge. 

As an artist, do I really want the expereince to be negative…no.  But, I want to hear what everyone says about my work.  How it’s perceived, does the composition work, are you pulled closer to the pieces, emotional response (if any)…and so much more.  Knowing that when I put my pencil on the paper that process is still for me, but the fact that you are allowing others to view your work means that you need to understand how everyone else is viewing your work.

If I draw a circle in the sand, I know what that means to me, but does the next person viewing it?

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