A work in progress and fear

Did a fair amount of sketching today. Worked on a couple more ACEO’s today which will go on my Patreon page. But here’s a small painting that is in process.

Work in process

This one will probably be finished tomorrow.

I feel like I’m trying to get up the courage to work on a larger painting again. It’s been so long since I’ve painted on a canvas larger than 8″x10″. I’m trying to remind myself to enjoy the process. So far, yeah, I just can’t get there.

I just can’t help the feeling that my art still wants to change and it has me scared. I can’t say this is a new feeling. I’ve actually had it for several years (yes, years!) now and I’ve been avoiding it and pretending it does exist (La, la, la… I’m not listening!). Yet, it keeps nagging. If I decide to walk down that path, I have many things to learn. So, it will make me grow. I’ve never been afraid of learning new things; in fact, I like to. So why is this bugging me?

I’m not even afraid of doing multiple subjects and styles — I do that with writing. So what the heck is the matter?

I suspect that somewhere along the line, I have made my painting important and precious. It was one of the reasons that I started doing the smaller 4″x6″ pieces. That, and practice.

I have to remind myself that the larger pieces are just practice to, no different than a short story or a novel. Just practice. And there is nothing so important about any of them that they can’t be painted over (deleted if I were writing). There are no mistakes. Only learning.

So why can I get myself so fired up and ready to paint, only to feel like a deflating balloon when I get to the easel? I get scared. I withdraw. I don’t allow myself to paint as freely or moving into the art that I want to do.

I’m not a fan of retreating, and yet I’ve been letting myself do it. I keep telling myself that I’m not ready.

But yet, I do nothing to “prepare” myself either.

Which makes me wonder if I want to do it as badly as I keep trying to convince myself I do. Am I just lying to myself? What is it that I really want?

And then, when I stop and listen to who is doing all this speaking, I realize it is my critical voice (whose only job it is to stop me) and it is winning (for it is stopping me).

As I said earlier, I started my 2022 goals in November (because I like October 31st as my “New Year’s Eve”). I had a goal of painting 12 larger works this year. Just 12 because I knew that I was trying to overcome this fear and I was trying to be gentle with myself (isn’t my critical voice so kind?). Well, I’m a month and a half into it and I haven’t even started the first painting.

If I were smart, I’d multiply my goal times 4 so that I’d have to create 48 paintings and then I’d have to hurry because I’m already 6 paintings behind. It would mean that I’d have to create fast and loose (oh my, I might even have some fun) if I want to get them done and get back on schedule.

Would I like to challenge myself?

I can say that my creative voice thinks that would be fun, but what will happen the moment I get to the easel? Yes, I have the ambition and courage now. Will I have it in the morning? The next day?

What happened to DARE TO BE BAD?

What happened to TRUST THE PROCESS?

Why can I let these apply to my writing but not my painting? Why can’t I chase the fear out of the art? Why isn’t the critical voice over sitting in the corner whimpering?

Because I keep letting it win.

The way I got over this with my writing was to write a lot. The day I realized that I wasn’t reaching my writing goals and that it would take me 90 years just to get where I wanted to be (and the subsequent fact that I wouldn’t be alive in 90 years), I changed my wicked ways and sent the critical voice off with a swift kick. I then took those 90 years and compacted them into 5.

The key seems to be painting a lot. Maybe 48 is a good goal (or maybe even 52 so that it is one a week – I’d still be 6 paintings behind at this point). Do I only fear this because I know that it would send that nasty critical voice off to the corner in this area of my life too?

I don’t think I’ve reached the end of this debate yet, but I’ll leave it here for now.

Until next time, happy adventuring.