Let me tell you about my first artistic triumph.
I was about 5 or 6 at the time. Turning the corner one day, I came upon my little brother happily drawing in crayon on the whitewashed surface of the back of our house. My first reaction was to gleefully tell him how much trouble he was going to be in. But then, I picked up a dark blue crayon, and joined him. I can still feel the delicious drag of that crayon through the thick white powder.
I don't know what suddenly seized me- I knew nothing about portraits- but I turned to my brother and said "look at me so I can draw you". He cheerfully obliged and I began drawing. And boy, did I nail it!
That drawing had everything- his square face, and half moon eyes, curly hair and a striped tee shirt on his sturdy little body. Everything just appeared under my hand, perfect and utterly effortless. I was so excited I had to shout!
"Ma! Ma! Come look at this!"
I'm sure I don't need to tell you how my creation was received.
The odd thing was that I knew I had discovered something absolutely amazing about the act of creating that no degree of disapproval could take away. I also knew the drawing was good even if no one else could see it.
And so I learned the first important lesson of my young art life: When in your heart of hearts you know you've found something good and you know you're right, it gives you a strength way beyond the actions of the most formidable critic.
Of course over time, with finer tuned eyes, I saw that blue stick figure with it's square head and fusilli hair for what it was. But I never forgot that I could count on whatever it was that resided within me, that had guided my hand and fueled my soul that day.