Dear Young Artist


Dear Young Artist,

It feels strange and uncomfortable in a way for me to be writing to you because I feel like a young artist myself. Not in terms of age, but in respect to practice and calling and purpose.

I have so much to learn.

I suppose that is my first point. As you grow into your craft and practice it more, a feeling of competency and arrival will probably never accompany it.

It’s like when I first brought twins home from the hospital – I couldn’t believe the doctors and nurses allowed me to take them. Shouldn’t a responsible grown up be in charge? But I looked around and my husband did too and all we saw was each other.

We didn’t feel capable but we didn’t have time to wait for our feelings to catch up with our reality. There was too much work to do.

If you are waiting to feel qualified, certified or professional, stop. Give yourself permission to work from your smallness, from your humility and your humanity . . . visit Be Small Studios to read the rest of this letter.

My friend Annie Barnett (different from Annie Downs – I love me some girls named Annie) is starting a new series on her blog, Letters to a Young Artist, and she invited me to join in. The series was inspired by this letter written by Makoto Fujimura. I enjoyed writing this letter, though after I sent it to her I thought of about a hundred different things I wish I had said instead. But part of the process is deciding to call something finished even though it isn’t exactly how you want it to be. Visit Annie to read the finished letter.