Working with Inner Hero Creative Art Journal Mixed Media Messages to Silence Your Inner Critic: Inner Critic Number One

Working with Inner Hero Creative Art Journal Mixed Media Messages to Silence Your Inner Critic: Inner Critic Number One. The book’s author is Quinn McDonald. It’s a workbook.


The book has you anthropomorphize your inner critic(s) and heroes (inner strengths, skills, etc.). It looks negative only at first.

You’re asked to depict the inner critic on a 5×7″ piece of paper. It’s not meant to be fine art. Quick sketches are just fine. Here’s mine, in watercolor. No excuses, I did it as my grandson played and ran around. At points, I was painting while following him around to keep him out of trouble. He’s two. I’m determined.

In the picture, my creative wings are caged, away from public view, and the key is not within their reach. The inner critic is prim and proper. She’s part my mom’s experiences and messages to me, and part my experiences and messages I got from many sectors. (I had off-white wallpaper with small roses printed on it when I was a kid).

I write about this inner critic on the back of the painted 5×7″ paper.

My inner critic is politically correct, believes that brainwashing is for the common good (despite some of this brainwashing about art and artists hailing back to Nazi Germany). Otherwise, how can anyone have a moral compass, was the reasoning (I don’t share that reasoning). She believes in being a perfectionist while hiding in the “safety” of the mainstream (potentialy the most dangerous and unstable thing to do) and the “expected.” She views difference, especially creative and autistic differences, as wrong, suspect, futile, penniless, tragic, degenerate, unstable … as a path to suffering. Women were not supposed to try such challenging paths. Women aren’t supposed to be mavericks and aren’t the favorite as protagonists, generally.

Do a visual search for “maverick” person. You’ll see nearly all male results. A maverick is defined as “an unorthodox or independent-minded person.” The definition of the word doesn’t mention the sex of the person. Society does that. Aren’t artists, unless they only create “safe art” (avoids anything controversial), supposed to be mavericks? A lot of the time, yes.

That message is clear in the entainment industry too. It’s part of the art world too. In the movies, only 11% of all clearly identifiable protagonists are female. In 2013, during the 85th Academy Awards, across 19 categories 140 men were nominated for awards versus 35 women. There were no female nominees for Directing, Cinematography, Film Editing, Writing (Original Screenplay), or Music (Original Score). The arts and entertainment industry seem to underline that imagination and art are political. “Everything’s political.”

This sort of stuff ddn’t escape Emma Watson either, hence her 2014 UN speech.

What’s with our species? Sexism and other prejudices are advanced behaviors?

Back to the inner critic. This inner critic has, despite the fact that she’s an adult, the emotional intelligence of a very inteligent but gullible, scared eight-year-old. She is ever a political refugee (as she was as an Estonian-born child) and tends to unwittingly “kiss the ass” of the ruling class or triumphalism, which tends to be ultra conservative. She is the voice of all the things my mother told me or did to my art.

In her time, growing up in Nazi Germany, artists were degenerates. To her, artists were salty characters, bound to starve, suspect. In her time, the “infirm” (a term sometimes applied to those on the autism range) were some of the first to be gassed. Yes. In her time, artists whose work didn’t agree to tight, proscribed confines were “degenerate.” Artists back then might have their studios and living quarters raided or might be declared “unwell,” put into a doctor’s care and/or disappeared. It was dangerous to color outside Nazi lines. I didn’t know this about the art world in her time until very recently. My mother unwittingly passed along such connotations to me and discouraged me from being artistic once I was no longer a small child.

She saved the pictures I drew in crayon up until I was about eight. Later, we argued over my wanting to major in art. So I didn’t go into the arts, much to my regret.

And my drawings that my college teacher wanted to put in a show somehow ended up with large pantry food jars stored on top of them. She literally placed the practical over my art.

That attitude is still with us today. People are stil discouraged from being career artists, I suspect women especially so, outright or insidiously it doesn’t matter. My youtube  playlist “Women, Spirituality, and Art”:

Things People Say to Artists Videos. (Some commonalities are you should be cheap or even free, you must use drugs and/or alcohol, you should be my monkey, you’ll starve, art isn’t a real profession, and other backhanded comments that show disrespect for art.)

That’s some pretty deep stuff. At best, women are 8 to 13% of the artists represented in art museums and many “upper end” art galleries. You can buy 150 women’s works of art for one high end man’s work of art. Generally. Still. Generally, being a woman artist … well, we should stick to our arts and crafts approach, eh? Heh. I don’t buy that but the art world is incredibly sexist and racist even now. That’s what you’ll witness if you watch my playlist, or at least the documentaries toward the bottom of it.

My inner critic is also my wounded eight-year-old that was called “alien,” told she had koonies, suffered social ostracization from her peers, was kept out of the loop, passed over in favor others who had connections, whispered about within earshot and worse. The message she was taught was that she’d never be clever, correct, or good enough. That what you do or produce isn’t as important as who produces it and whether that person is acceptable, valued. So my “wings” as an artist that let me sore were kept in the shadows. Being on the autism range is suposed to be a “tragedy.” A painful tragedy. Being a woman doesn’t help. Or it was, as an unspoken rule, when I was a child in the 60s and 70s.

We’ve only begun to challenge that crap as a society so it should be no surprise if this stuff shows up in my iner critic.

My mother meant well, she was trying to protect me. They took us to cultural events, museums, historical places, natural wonders, and on fossil and/or rock hunting trips. We were taught languages. She wasn’t all bad. She was a product of her times. Now, however, the Net allows us to quickly dig into things, deconstruct them, examine what we find, and talk back.

Speaking of talking back, this book has you depict your inner heroes next. The heroes and inner critics then engage with each other. The result is that one doesn’t have to be stuck and flow in the act of creation is possible as a result.

This is especially great for me because I tend to be a visual thinker first and often stuggle to find the frameworks and words for my experiences, hopes and dreams. So, here I am in my 50s finally dealing with all this.

My grandson is napping. I hope to join him for just a bit. Write a little, nap a little, do art and cook when he gets up. That’s the plan.


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