Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Fear Factor

Today I want to share a few thoughts on fear. There is rational fear designed to keep us safe and alive. Then there is irrational fear based on no reason whatsoever. This will be the focus today.

Rational fear:  Trapped in a Cave
Irrational fear: blank canvas

                       It is crazy, but I have certainly felt this way.
Or worse get half way through a really great painting and then get frozen with fear that I would screw it up.
                       When I was a young artist I used to watch a German painter on PBS. I never liked his style of painting/teaching, but I loved his philosophy on life and art. The one thing he said that has stayed with me all these years is:
(and you have to imagine the German accent)

"I used to go to the canvas and shake but NOW THE CANVAS SHAKES!"

I still periodically feel the fear but to get through it I consider myself going into battle. I put my warrior princess hat on, take a breath and get the canvas to shake.

Sometimes the canvas will bend to my will easily. Sometimes it is a fight.
Even if the battle is furious and I lose, the worst that happens is a slightly bruised ego and a canvas goes into the trusty wood stove where all my artistic sins are cleansed.


  1. Love it, Diane! You know me as a healer, but I am also a writer, and I experience this fear phenomenon, too. I think that any creative act asks us to walk through our fear of not being good enough.


  2. Pam, I have often wondered if it was a fear of failure (familiar) or a fear of success (the unfamiliar).

  3. Have you ever read Art & Fear - Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (David Bayles & Ted Orland). It's a small book and you will find yourself nodding "yes" all the way through.