I finally had a little while to get into the studio yesterday. Since I have not had a chance to paint (traditionally) in several days, I noticed an interesting phenomenon, one that I'm quite familiar with. There is an apprehension that wells up when starting a new painting, if I have not been painting everyday. It goes something like this - 'how do you do this again?,' 'can I paint that?', 'it's so detailed, I'll never get those color/value/shapes to read right', 'i bet this one will be a flop', 'where do i begin?' and on and on.... Just putting that first stroke on the canvas is actually a feat of courage, knowing that all color relationships depend on whats around them, and there is nothing yet to judge by. It's very much like putting the first piece of a 1000 piece puzzle right smack in the middle without any point of reference and knowing that the journey ahead is somewhat daunting.
Does this mental rambling sound familiar? Come to think of it, everytime I do something new in life, in general, some form of this fear raises its ugly head. The good thing about getting older is that it doesn't stop me in my tracks anymore. My favorite saying is "feel the fear and do it anyways" which is also the title of a book I read in the early 90's, which forever changed my relationship to fear. The big revelation from reading the book was ... drum roll... the fear never goes away. (Damn! Thats not what I was hoping) The other revelation was, since the fear never goes away, get comfortable with being uncomfortable - which means you are growing - which is why we are here (in my humble opinion). For me, the best way to deal with fear is to just dive in, head first. Starting a drawing, starting a painting, starting anything that requires you do dig inside and make hundreds of decisions and think on your feet, IS daunting. It is uncomfortable do a painting or drawing that turns out poorly. But the alternative, not doing anything for fear it won't turn out well - is stagnating (for me). So what if its a flop, so what if its hard, so what if I make hundreds of wrong decisions? No doubt I will learn something from the endeavor, but best of all I'll show my old pal fear, who's boss - again.
6x6" Oil on Gessoboard