Facing FEAR !?

Facing FEAR:

I’m always anxious for artists, especially beginners. If their confidence is shattered, their potential talent is lost forever. Locked away in the capsule of fear!

That is why I’m concerned about people who are scared to paint with watercolours, because of its fluidity. To me, that is very sad.  If they would only take the time to play with their brush, watch how the colours blend and go with the flow, they would see its fluidity creates the most beautiful blends of colours that no other medium possesses.

Facing fear

A5 watercolour painting: Autumn colours.

Handling the fluidity of watercolours: It’s a matter of:

  • Watch what you are actually doing. Where are you putting your brush hairs? Do you want to touch (tip) the previous wet paint and let it blend, or not.
  • Remember liquid runs easier where it is wet.

The effects, you make, depends on:

  • How much liquid, water and paint is on your brush.
  • How wet, damp or dry your paper is.

As simple as that!

When people learn to control FEAR, they learn how to use it to their advantage!

  • Amateurs tend to think they are the only ones who experience FEAR when painting. “Will people laugh at their attempt?”
  • And starting with a blank white canvas…. can be intimidating.

Everyone experiences this fear to some extent.

If anyone tells you proficient artists don’t face fears, they’re telling lies. When starting a new painting there is always a certain amount of trepidation, “What if this painting turns out a flop?” because at the back of their minds they know that not every painting is a success.

I can hear beginners say, “Wow. Does every artist feel and think that way?!”

And that’s not all!  Even, after having started on a painting, there comes a moment when that FEAR has the cheek to come back. “So good, so far… But what if I spoil what I’ve done so far?”

How does that FEAR feel deep inside? Just sort of scary?  Very scary?

Remember fear is a natural reaction:

  • Have you ever thought: brave courageous deeds usually occur during the time of horror and trauma?!
  • Fear also comes with the unknown, what may or may not happen in the future.
  • When starting any new job, there is less fear when you know what to do and how to do it.
  • In planning compositions, artists need to anticipate possible problems beforehand, to be able to handle any unexpected occurrences that may or may not happen while painting.

So when you start on a new painting, ask yourself:

  1. “Can I learn anything from this experience?” Knowing mistakes are usually learning curves.
  2. “What is the worst thing that could happen?” What are you so worried about?
  3. And if it should happen, “How will I recover from it” Always have another contingency plan of action that you can adapt to if need be.
  4. On the positive side, think: “What could be the best thing that could happen?” This question helps build courage to go forward, even when you feel scared.
  5. “How am I feeling? Can I control this feeling? How can I turn it into a good feeling?” Possible solutions: Soft gentle music, and absorbing the beauty of another artist’s work that inspires you.

Reflect on the consequences of your actions:

Remember fear is a motivating catalyst, when you consider that fear generally precedes success. As time goes on with more and more painting experience, you’ll begin to realize consequences of courage: usually happens to people who proceeded, in spite of what may have happened.

Have you ever thought of why and what makes people successful in life? They have learnt how to overcome fear. They actually appreciate the feeling of fear, because they know it’s part of being stimulated into doing something that could achieve greater success.

If you don’t do anything –nothing ever happens:

Progress and success comes with courage and wise anticipation.

As artists, one has to practice your skills often, in order to reduce mistakes and the feeling of trepidation. With each successful painting, your confidence is built on the knowledge you can do it.

  • It also boils down to, how strong your ambitions are.
  • With each small success, builds more love for what you like doing. When you love what you are doing, it takes away fear.

Solution to fear:

If you haven’t painted for some time, whether it’s three months or three weeks, I found it’s wise to loosen-up by doing a little bit of doodling first, before going onto attempting to paint something that’s important.

That is, take a piece of paper (not expensive paper) and slash paint on, will-nilly, nothing serious or complex. Anything, that gives you pleasure. This helps to free-up your brushstrokes and your mind, and allows your imagination to flow freely.

Putting passion into your brushstrokes, takes away the feeling of fear and trepidation! You feel more in control.

The reason why I said not expensive paper is because often fear comes with the thought you don’t want to waste paper and paint. Once you confidence is built through doing, you feel brave enough to paint on that more expensive paper.

Remember you make the difference, not the cost of the paper, paints or whatever other people may or may not think of you. What is important, is that you never give up on yourself, express yourself freely, in the moment of pure creativity.

For more insight into handling fear:  Check out Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.

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