Introverts Are Actually Normal

I’ve been reading Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and if you’re an artist, and you’re kind of quiet, and you think that you’re a misanthropic hermit because you enjoy fine art painting in your studio—alone—then get this book and read it.

Whether your exuberance is expressed outwardly, or whether you rejoice in your inner canyon spirit, you are normal, and your best art is produced when you create in accordance with who, and what, you are. Spirit of the Canyon, original, signed limited edition print, miniature study, note card by Steve Henderson.
Whether your exuberance is expressed outwardly, or whether you rejoice in your inner canyon
spirit, you are normal, and your best art is produced when you create in accordance with who,
and what, you are. Spirit of the Canyon, original, signed limited edition print, miniature study,
note card by Steve Henderson.

According to Cain’s research, one in three persons are introverts (including the author herself), and the word is not synonymous with “shyness” so much as it is with “one who thinks more than he talks.”

Now one thing I’ve noticed about a lot of painting artists—they do think more than they talk, which is refreshing. They also listen more than they speak—the total opposite of standard extrovert behavior, which leads me to wonder, “Just why do we think that extroverts are normal and introverts are not?”

Anyway, while it’s tempting, I’m not out to bash extroverts so much as to encourage introverts, because from the time we plunk down our Play Doh in pre-school, we are told to be more outgoing, “friendly,” gregarious, social, and noisy. And when we’re not, because we prefer to observe first, or to interact within small groups of two or three, or—this makes total sense to introspective persons—to not speak unless we feel that we have something worthwhile to say, then we are repeatedly scolded that we are shy, weird, strange, unfriendly, timid, bashful, reticent, and cold. Talk about profiling.

You are who you are and what you are, and the art you produce is a direct result of the inner core of your being. Take some time—introvert, extrovert, and everything in between—to figure out what that inner core is, and strengthen it, so you discover how to paint, how to act, and how to live as you see fit.


Related Posts:


The Artist's Life Blog

8 thoughts on “Introverts Are Actually Normal

  1. Carolyn, I’m starting to think we are on the same wavelength or we’ve been interested in the same topics. I started reading a book on introverts but unfortunately, I don’t have much time so I needed to return it. Yes, we introverts are not chatty, but that doesn’t mean we are antisocial. We just process stuff inside our head rather than blabber on and on to someone else. The number of introverts varies depending on the research…some are now saying we are nearly half the population. Extroversion is stressed in early childhood and I think the schools do a disservice to introverts by viewing us as odd, depressed, mental, etc. Actually, some researchers feel that this pressure trying to force kids to be someone they are not, is what causes some introverts to snap and do harm.(I guess if they were extroverts they would just end up being con-people?)(I say this as a dig because people are always pointing to the introvert as having societal problems, the extrovert does also, but for some reason people don’t get as upset at someone who is pulling a con job on them as long as they are nice and acknowledge them.)

    Introverts are powerful concentrators. We make excellent thinkers, researchers, scientists, artists, designers, anything with the computer, engineers… We are the brainstormers and innovators. We can easily go off on our own and get something done.

  2. Wow! You just described me completely! I am definetely going to get this book. I am so tired of people telling me I’m unfriendly or mad or sad, when I am just a quiet person. Now I understand why I’m happiest when I’m lost in my sketchbook or canvas. Thank you for featuring this!

  3. OH MY! I am soooo like this ~ being called “unfriendly” “cold”, etc. has been reflected in many comments over the years to describe who or “what” people think I am…… Alas, quiet thinker, introverted hermit is definitely a preferred state of mind and place for me! So, enough “words” for now. Happy thought reflective painting to all! Rita Marie

  4. Tracy and Rita Maria, Yes! Isn’t that the worst. Extroverts expect everyone else around them to talk to them, acknowledge them, and approach them with wagging tails or something. I’m not only quiet but very “heady” and can be logical too. I get called much worse than cold, unfriendly, mad or sad. I’ve actually had people explode in anger at me. One person told me that quiet introverted people are being selfish. I bought that BS for a long time. I’m just being quiet ol me and I’m not being stuck-up or thinking anything bad about them. In fact, it is the other person making assumptions and reacting inappropriately. People can be very mean when they have expectations on the ways that people should react to them.

  5. I’d rather be in front of a blank canvas or blank page creating then in the middle of a blank party. To me, this is normal. Artists in general are not big on conformity in my experience and being liked for someone you are not is my idea of hell. Give me folks who are creative thinkers instead of non-stop talkers and I am happy to be in their company. I can be gregarious when I want and need to be but I prefer to have my words have more meaning rather than requiring an apology attached to them.

  6. I believe I am normal but I do fall in the introvert catigory. I was once told I am “One who sees much but reviels little” Not only do people precieve us as shy they may see us as stuck up as well. If you think first it doesn’t many words to say what you want.

  7. Wow! That’s me! I’ve been scolded for being shy, weird, strange, unfriendly…etc. I’m an introvert, I think more than I speak . If I don’t have something worthwhile to say, I don’t say anything, most of the time. Once in a while I’m a little outspoken, usually when I’m mad. I just recently told a family member of mine who thinks I’m a social misfit pretty much what you said here. She’s aways putting me down for being antisocial (I’m not, she just thinks I am). I explained that I am an introvert partly because I’m an artist. I spend a lot of time alone doing artwork, but I do like being with other people. I think SHE needs to read this book.