Do You Need a Creation Mantra?

What is a creation mantra?  I define it as: a phrase I repeat to myself to put me in a particular frame of mind while creating.  My personal creation mantra is: “This is not meant to be a masterpiece.”

When I unwrap a new canvas, the first thing I do is voice my mantra: “This is not meant to be a masterpiece.” I repeat this mantra frequently throughout my creative process.  For example, if I stand back and look at what I’m working on, and say to myself, “Hey, this is turning out pretty well,” I immediately follow it with, “This is not meant to be a masterpiece.”  That way, if I work the darn thing to the point it becomes a hot mess, I don’t become so disappointed that I throw it in the dumpster, plop in front of the television and binge-watch Netflix.  With my mantra, I can look at my far-from-perfect project and say to myself, “Well, it wasn’t meant to be a masterpiece.”  Then I can relax, explore and continue on.  Mind you, this doesn’t guarantee a beautiful painting, only peace of mind and the desire to keep going.

I have a problem with perfectionism when it comes to my art (and my music and my writing).  I don’t know why because none of my creations are perfect.  But perfectionism hangs over my shoulder when I create, sneering at my marks, heckling my mistakes.  The mantra, “This is not meant to be a masterpiece,” swats away that nasty perfectionism and lets me relax and follow my intuition.  Salvador Dali said, “Have no fear of perfection.  You’ll never reach it.”  Perhaps that was his mantra.  If so, it obviously worked — look at what he created.

Do you sometimes find yourself frustrated or disappointed with your artwork to the point you want to give away all your art supplies?  Do you think perfectionism or some other “ism” might be the source of your disappointment?  Maybe a personal creation mantra would work for you.  If you already have one, I’d love to hear about it.  Maybe others would also.  Leave a comment.

Happy creating!

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