Name Your Art

“Is this piece finished?”

“Am I ready to sell this?”

name that book badge2Familiar with the feeling that you can’t let go a piece of your work yet–whether it’s giving it away or selling it? Sometimes it’s the inner critic beleaguering you, filling you with doubts about your talent and skill.

Sometimes it’s the attachment to the work. You’ve done hours, days, even weeks of work, and the idea of the growing, living piece being taken from you is a lot to handle.

And sometimes, you just feel like a fraud. It’s a common occurrence with creative work–we feel that the beauty, the way it came together was an accident, that we really didn’t have much to do with it. That’s the inner critic again, and you need to call out a powerful inner hero to talk for you.

"Adam Naming the Creatures", 1847. Currier & Ives print, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs, LOC #LC-USZC4-2780.

“Adam Naming the Creatures”, 1847. Currier & Ives print, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs, LOC #LC-USZC4-2780.

The inner hero is the Name-Giver. Not familiar with that one? There is an origination story that gives precedence. God did the creating, then set Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to name the animals. It gave them dominion over them. And the action of naming does give us a certain power. We give names that are meaningful–we name our children after poring over name origins and finding just the right match. We name our children after others to honor them and remember them.

The same is true of our creative work. We name it to have dominion over it, and also to, at the right time, set it free. As a child leaves home to become an adult, our creative work has a life away from us. And giving it a name allows the growth and separation to begin.

–Quinn McDonald sometimes gives an artwork a public name and a private name, one she will use to retrieve the magic of creation.