The Highly Sensitive Person Artist, the saga of the 21 signs #5

From the site , 21 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person, author Jenn Granneman Dec. 12 2019 .
First, remember, I am not giving professional advice here. I and possibly you are not qualified to do so, making these writings my opinion. That said……#5: You’re Jumpy.

That’s the scientific term, Jumpy. The Jumpiness Quotient. The Bertrand Scale of Jumpiness Amplitudes.

The article’s author: “When someone sneaks up on you, you jump like a frightened cat. Many HSPs have a high ‘startle reflex’ because even in non-threatening situations their nervous systems are dialed up.”

“This is special as you can see; the numbers all go to eleven.” – Spinal Tap, 1984

That’s how you know you’re a HSP, your reflex is ‘high’. Doesn’t take much. Slugs don’t got ’em, you do in spades. Your system is amped up, and not your fault. Cortisol blasts through your system and you startle, like it or not. This is just another really good reason the HSP Artist must have a work place that is truly a sanctuary. Can’t get the magic to happen when even small things are big interruptions.

Of course, we can help ourselves with certain kinds of brain based system training, like professional bio-feedback or focused meditation. One will need professional help. Ask at your local Buddhist monastery.

I have read that the Creative should be able to make their art in public.
This is a great idea. Why not?
Basically it is performance and publicity. If you can do this it feels great, and sometimes you can do things in the moment that you didn’t even know you could.

This is what is called “a set piece”. Who cares what you produce, the goal is not the work but the performance. And I suppose sometimes you flop, but hey, you’re out there.

I remember as a teenager going to the CNE by myself, when the Arts and Crafts building was actually full of artists and crafts persons, so I could watch the painters, calligraphers and crafters work and chat. That is why they were there.

But this kind of exposure is different from painting ‘en plein air’. A few times I have tried to sketch, sketch in watercolours, and paint small pieces in oils in public. And I can’t do it.

It is not that I am shy. I’m not. But if I’m interrupted it throws me off so much I just can’t get anything going. Sometimes I’m startled, sometimes I just can’t refocus. I start to feel self-conscious. The result is a frustrated, sometimes embarrassed waste of time.

This is one reason I started taking photos as image reference. This has big drawbacks, as well as benefits, which I may right about in another post.

I would, basically, be sketching in my head, but then use my camera to capture the details I would have preferred to have spent a couple hours capturing on board. I admit, there really is no replacement for working from life. Drawing from the model, putting down architectural details on-site, trying to capture the light outdoors in an oil sketch. But unless I can truly work alone (out in the countryside), or with a group of artist’s (safety in numbers), I can’t work in public.

And this is because of the ‘startle reflex’. Not only are you not in the controlled environment of your place of creativity, you are outside with even more stimulation radiating all around you, and then add to that the attention of strangers who unwittingly invade your personal space and break your concentration…well, no wonder you “Jump”. If not literally, then in your skin.

And if you don’t understand how a person can appear calm on the outside and yet be jumping out of their skin on the inside, you’re not an HS Person.

There is not much to this Sign, just one more piece in the puzzle. Do we HSP Creatives need special treatment? Is that what you’re asking?

Darn right we do! Like a swimmer needs water, HSP Creatives need their space. Quiet, creative space.

The lesson here? We HSP Creatives really really need control over our working environment. Outdoor work, for example, takes some practice but is really rewarding. As an HSP Artist you might even have ‘a leg up’ on other Creatives. But there’s gotta be water in the pool!

Thanks for stopping by… Sean.