Lisa Mitchell

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Find Your Inner Art Patron, Quiet Your Inner Critic Part 1

Lisa Mitchell | Mar 13, 2015 | 1 comment

Find your inner art patron; quiet your inner critic

A patron is to an artist as yeast is to bread.

In order to sustain your creativity you, need support.  The most successful form of support comes in the form of a special kind of  relationship.  Much like yeast in bread, your inner art patron infuses your art with the elements it requires in order to rise.  And, just like yeast cannot become bread unless it is kneaded into dough, your patron also depends on you to be an artist.  For, without the existence of your art, your patron cannot become a patron.

Throughout history, art patrons have supported artists in various ways.  Patrons have allowed their artists to them to live with them in their homes and castles.  They have  commissioned art work.  And they’ve paid for their living expenses and art supplies. If it not for their art patronage, many of the brilliant masters’ works would not exist. In addition, the status and reputation that patrons have held because of their patronage has been recognized, celebrated, and highly regarded.

Michelangelo was supported by Julius II while he painted the Sistine Chapel.  Just think how amazing it would have been to by Julius II!

Ambroise Voullard  abandoned his law career in 1895 only to buy 150 of Cezanne’s paintings (who was virtually unknown) and exhibit them in the artist’s first ever show in Paris.  He went on to enjoy extraordinary relationships with the artists that he sponsored.  He often hosted dinners where the likes of Picasso, Rouault, Degas, Renoir, and Manet could be found having heated discussions on modern art topics.

Friends and family are often recognized as essential art patrons, too.

M.C. Escher wouldn’t have been able to dedicate his life to art if his parents didn’t supplement his income for much of his life.

Vincent van Gogh’s brother, Theo, sacrificed luxuries in order to send Vincent money to live on and buy art supplies.

Claude Monet was dependent on friends and family for a very long time.

A patron has a unique relationship to an artist’s art.

When a patron enters into a supportive relationship with an artist, it means he believes and admires the artist.  He sees potential, but more than that, he values what the artist is saying and doing in present time.  Voullard took a risk on Cezanne.  He barely had enough money for all of the paintings, and couldn’t even afford to frame them all for the exhibit.  He created a make-shift gallery in an old farm house for his first show.  So, while the patron’s reputation and status certainly depends on the success of the painter’s art, his job is to truly support the artist’s capacity to continue creating.

The patron does not give critiques or evaluation to the artist.  The public and other artists do plenty of that.  Rather, the patron’s support serves to help the artist continue to create despite criticism or judgment.  It’s a powerful relationship for both artist and patron

Let’s look  at  the patron’s role when we expand the definition of art to include all creative endeavors. 

Seth Godin suggests, “Anyone who cares and acts on it is performing a work of art.”  Many of us don’t have the fortune of knowing a Voullard or Julius II.  However, every one of us who creates has an internal patron.  Just like an inner child who remembers how to play for you, your internal patron supports your art.

Let’s say your art is therapy.  You are a therapist who cares and performs works of art every day in your work with clients.  You navigate the emotional canvas like nobody’s business.  You know when to slow your brush strokes of conversation and when to lean into your sculpture tools to make a deeper impression.  You are stunning in your art making endeavors.

Well, your patron has every bit to do with this as your artist does.

Think about it. Does your patron believe in your art abilities and see even more potential for you?  Does your patron help to sustain your ability to show up every day?  Has your patron invested in your training because you are worth it?  Does your patron know that you will need that little nap mid-afternoon and makes sure that you schedule it in?

Your art patron may do so many wonderful things to help support your art.  But here’s something I bet you didn’t know your patron can do.  He/she can calm your inner critic.  Because your patron has already invested in your art, and already believes in your abilities, he/she has automatic rebuttals to many of the mean things your inner critic will say.

When you get to know your patron better—really nurture that relationship that already exists inside, you have instant shielding from the judgment that comes from your inner critic.

Think about your patron.  Who is he/she?  How does your patron support you?

Next week I will let you know how exactly your patron can shield you from your inner critic.

In the meantime, won’t you contribute your comments below and explain how your patron supports you in your art form called therapy?

One response to “Find Your Inner Art Patron, Quiet Your Inner Critic Part 1”

  1. Amy Maricle says:

    HI Lisa:

    I like this idea of an inner art patron. Mine has been pushing me to schedule artist dates and buy myself some more canvas so that I get painting more frequently. She does need to fight against the critic that says things are not good enough, it’s a waste, etc. It’s true that the more we practice letting the patron be in control, the more it silences the critic.

    Thanks for this thoughtful post.



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