Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Theodore Roosevelt said these words. A wise man.

I joined Instagram a couple of years ago to share paintings and view the artwork of others. I checked in on the #figurepainting and #malefigure tags every day, and over time found hundreds of wonderful artworks. I just loved coming across a painting that excited me and I found many paintings I thought were inspirational, either through their technique or their subject matter.

Unfortunately, I realised recently (last weekend, actually) that this has made me terribly critical of and unhappy with my own work, which has launched me into a deep work-based depression over the last few months where I'm unable to do anything right. For the first time in my 36 years I found myself whinging internally, "why can't I paint like him?". Well, Sarah, because you are NOT him. Nor should you be!

To strive to improve is the most laudable thing a human can do, and studying other techniques is a really good step forward in this goal. But it must always be remembered that we are unique, special, one. The world does not need two Malcolm Liepkes, the one it has already is perfectly sufficient. What it does need is diversity; billions of minds and souls working to create their own unique vision in their own unique way. It's simply not about being "as good" as someone else.