Episode 22: The Inner Critic

Photo of woman painting blue bear (Episode 22 of The Painting Experience Podcast: The Inner Critic)

We all have those moments -- in painting and in life -- when the harsh inner critic appears. In this episode, Stewart Cubley considers the source of this all too familiar voice and prescribes a surprising course of action.

An excerpt from The Inner Critic . . .

We all know the experience of the inner critic -- that persistent and negative voice that constantly projects a judgment on our painting. "It’s not good enough," or "It's lacking," or "There's some part of it that I don't like, something needs to be changed, I need to get rid of it and start over ... ." This can also extend to other people in the room: "Others are doing better than I am," and so on. We can start to travel down that road of feeling insufficient and like a failure, that the painting is proof of our insufficiency.

We can begin to see that the painting really is a reflection of our own internal process. This is an important step, because if you just take it on the level of the painting, you continue to believe there's something wrong with the painting -- that if you just fixed the painting everything would be okay. But it goes much deeper than that, because the painting is a reflection. It's a mirror image of our own internal life. The harshness of the inner critic is pointing at something, it's revealing something to us if we're willing to look at it, which is our harsh concept of ourselves. It's this deep sense of insecurity and insufficiency that we live with and project onto the painting. The painting process becomes a way of seeing this, and you have to be ready to see it and willing to see it. In other words, are you interested enough to see it? Otherwise it becomes just a bother and a struggle, it stays on the level of struggle. But if it interests you -- this whole question of the inner critic and the ramifications of that, the potential of that -- then the painting process has a way forward. It’s a way in which you can begin to work with that critic inside you.

Listen to learn more!