Marianne Morris | Artist

Living Life in Full Colour

Speaking in your own voice

This is a recent drawing. I finished it last week. But it’s taken me years to get here.

Years ago, before I started my music series, I was part of this little art group. Only a few people, very informal, none of us doing any showing. I had started working on a few drawings in a similar style to this one. I did a bunch of small ones in my sketchbook, and a couple at a larger size on watercolour paper. I took it in to show the group.

There was one artist in the group, and while she worked in a style drastically different to my own, she was very skilled and had excellent taste. I respected her opinion. So when she told me she really didn’t like these drawings, I took it to heart. And I stopped.

Fast forward a few years. I’ve been posting a #paintingoftheday to Instagram pretty much every day for a while now. I have a large inventory and have been painting regularly for years. But still… after a year of daily posting, I was running out of images. So I dug out these drawings. And you know what? They got a pretty decent reaction. I even got a commission out of it.

So why did I stop? I thought these drawings were pretty good. But I didn’t have the confidence to speak in my own voice. I was relying on other people to tell me my ideas were good enough. That I was good enough. But somewhere along the line I have figured out that I can trust my own instincts. If I think something is good, chances are there will be someone else around that agrees with me. Undoubtably there will be a few that don’t, but I know now that I don’t need to be everything to everyone. I’m ok with who I am. And I will speak in my own voice.


  1. Spectacular Marianne. Every line in perfect place.

    • admin

      July 25, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      Thank you, Annis. It felt odd going back to an older style of drawing, but once I got into it, it was like meditating.

  2. I love this drawing and I love the authenticity of what you have to say about it. In fact it is what I needed to hear right now. I have been taking drawing lessons from someone I consider to be at a master level. I have learned a ton and although he is great at offering constructive criticism, that does not ever seem to include encouragement. It is good to know what is ‘wrong’ with a drawing so you can make the correction and learn, but also knowing what is right can go a long way to help someone too. After 3 months of these lessons I noticed that I was starting to dislike nearly everything I am doing and was almost avoiding art entirely.

    It is good you got to this point of not basing your abilities to visually communicate and create on one persons opinion. I am sure there might be pieces of hers you may not like either.

    • admin

      July 25, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      I hope you can find the joy in drawing again, Tom. I was raised to believe that if you don’t have anything good to say, stfu. So whenever I was asked to critique someone, I would always start with “I really like this part” or “i love how you did that”…. I think that’s an important part of a critique. I imagine your teacher was trained in the old school method (all negative, all the time). Unfortunately, that often leads to students giving up before they really grow into themselves.

  3. I remember a few that were similar, back in the day. I thought (still think) that they are incredibly powerful. Thanks for your post. This stuff is important to remember.

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