This unfortunate affliction tends to hit women. Men seem to be mostly immune, subscribing instead to the “fake it ’til you make it” school of thought. Some, based on my corporate experience, fake it forever, and never get called out on it. LOL Women, however, often seem to believe they have to be expert at something before being recognized. This fallacious assumption is hardly confined to business environments.
For example, cooking is something many women do, but few brag about it. Men often expect to receive praise if they cook, whether grilling or baking cookies. And, more to the point of this blog, imposter syndrome relates to the art world as well. Like many of my friends, I hesitated for years to call myself a professional artist. I was “a closet artist” who painted “in my spare time,” or as “my second business” while consulting.
The idea that I could claim both art and business skills took a long time to sink into my brain. The fact that my art wasn’t as realistic as others’ intimidated me, too. I finally understood that exactly reproducing objects doesn’t feel creative to me. Perspective drawing bored me in college, and still does. If I want realism, I’ll use my camera, not my pastels. My intent when painting is to show how it felt to be there. Luckily, collectors appreciate my approach, and have purchased nearly 200 of my paintings!
This new painting of Mont St. Michel shows what I mean. We climbed the ramparts to the cathedral atop the rocky island and arrived just in time for ringing of the noon bells. The majestic height forced the monk to tug hard on the rope. Light striped the ancient stone floor. Colors reflected from stained glass windows. This all interested me more than exactly duplicating the scene. It was awe-inspiring, and that emotional reaction is what I wanted to paint.