I have been relishing very productive studio time these days. And it feels good. It doesn't feel good because it's all easy and laid-back. (I wonder if some people think artists recline, adorned with a beret and a glass of red wine in hand, painting with ease and leisure. Sounds nice though!) It feels good because I am pushing through fear, frustration and self-doubt - and producing work that I am excited about.
Last week an idea morphed from it's original state (which is not out of the ordinary for my artistic process) and after a few sketches I began to paint... I felt so restless and unsatisfied with what was unfolding in front of me. Ugh. Had I ruined hours of work with this morphing of ideas? I set it aside and started with fresh eyes a few days later. I knew something was missing... but what? How would I say what I needed to with this piece?
I think fearlessness looks more like determination in the face of that internal struggle rather than the total absence of fear.
Acknowledging fear but moving through it is a common theme in my life - and definitely in my art work. Sure, it would be great to be fearless from the get-go but I think fearlessness looks more like determination in the face of that internal struggle rather than the total absence of fear. So, I pushed aside those thoughts that like to remind me that I'll never get it right, and chose instead to take some risks. I dyed cheesecloth in watercolour, sprayed rubbing alcohol, painted with a sea sponge and brought out a bottle of Mod Podge. I chose to give my ideas a shot. What's the worst thing that could happen? (And truly... what is the worst thing that happens?... I hate it? Well, then tear it up or burn it - if you need that kind of cathartic thing as I do - and try again!) I have been learning that the "practice", the "failure", the "trying something new", all are stepping stones of growth. We are way too concerned with perfection - I know I certainly am.
All this is good for my heart - my mind - my soul. The end product of this piece...? I love it. It's already framed and tucked away for February. Today I begin with a new idea, a freshly gessoed wood panel and a plan of attack. Sure, there's fear but I am choosing to be determined and look forward to the adventure of a new project in order to press on. Even with a deadline I must choose exploration over the pursuit of perfection - it makes me a better artist and takes the expectation and judgement off of those blank canvases.