When I say fear, I don’t mean creative stumbling blocks that are part and parcel of being an artist. I mean proper paralysing fear of even starting anything.
I spent what felt like months…oh wait, it was months…reading how to paint, how to draw, watching all of You Tube, and too afraid to actually put any of what I learned into practice. For fear of failure. I was so overwhelmed.
It’s seems incredible now, as I’m quite prolific, that I ever went through that, but I did. Getting out of that place was sort of sudden I think, but I can’t remember the specifics….I just ended up committing more and more to my art.
The only solution, if you are in the place where I was, is to do it. All the books say to do it, and everybody you’ll ever ask will say just do it – just get on and make some art.
At some point, surely, the fear of never ever trying will outweigh any potential duds you produce. There will be duds, but there will also be indescribable moments of pure joy that pierce your soul, when you create something (even a square inch of part of a painting) utterly magical.
The more you do this, the quicker that fear will recede. It’s no mystery why many artists set themselves challenges, like paint 30 paintings in 30 days, or 100 painting challenge.
All I know is, when you’re a beginner, you invest every part of your being into what you think is your masterpiece and agonise over it. Well, if you paint regular, you can’t do that. Each painting is just a stepping stone to the next one. I can honestly say very quickly after finishing a painting, all that I have invested in it is gone. I’m ready for the next one. Using what I learned to do better.
One of the things I struggled with was establishing a creative process. I found it really hard to find out what other artists did (they can be cagey you know) at 10am on a Friday, for example. And I do like a sort of framework as a guide. As it happens, I got into my own rhythm and one day realised I had in fact established my own creative processes and practice – it evolved naturally from the act of doing. Which goes back to the original point of this post: if you’re that freaked out you can’t even look at your paints without breaking into a sweat, then here’s a list of books I read, to get the bogeymen in your head simmering down:
- The War on Art, by Stephen Pressfield
- Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers
- The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron
- How to be An Artist, by Michael Atavar
And when you’ve read them, have a word with yourself and start making. You’re most welcome. Good luck.