Friday, September 30, 2016

Courage over Fear...

Artist's block is a famous and utterly common situation faced by nearly all artists at one time, or far more often, in their lifetimes. Fear has been a familiar specter in my life. I grew up being afraid of so many things. It was nature that helped me bridge the gap from being afraid to doing it anyway. Nature is still my "go-to" solution when faced with difficulties. Sitting on the earth, smelling the earth, feeling the ground beneath me, listening to life surrounding me - all these and so much more revitalize my spirit and remind me that life continues to continue.

Last weekend I hit a bump in my road so I grabbed the car keys and took off for Spring Creek, a few miles from my home. Water is especially healing - and not simply because I grew up in Minnesota, the Land of Lakes, a few short blocks from the Mississippi River or because we spent 16 years living on the dikes of the Susquehanna River in upstate Pennsylvania! Water, by it's very nature, is a healing substance. I have many friends that love the ocean, probably because they grew up in New Jersey. For me, the ocean is an awesome but unfamiliar power of healing, majesty, and incredible beauty. I'm simply more comfortable with lakes, rivers, and streams.

So today, as I come face to face with accepting my ridiculous, over-blown fears of failure with regard to watercolor painting, I find myself surrounded by a soft rain and mesmerizing fog. I love the fog, by the way. I only remember one time being really afraid in the fog - I was waiting for the city bus on a busy street and the fog was so dense that sound was muffled, headlights were invisible even up close and personal, and the sense of isolation was impossible to ignore. The bus lumbered to a stop, knowing I'd be there on my way to high school. And the memory slipped into my history, irrevocably placed in a spot I would come to know, love, and respect many times over the course of my life.

Maybe it's today that I "get on the bus" and begin painting in earnest again.

And maybe not... I've used a renewed interest in genealogy this week to divert my energies from art to something more substantial. I do love to research! I loved my 4 years working in the reference library at St. Catherine's University. Research can be SO satisfying. And it's not about me putting color on paper for good or ill results! Researching genealogy is fact-finding, comparing what is found with what is already known/proven/validated, and integrating the new information with the old to create a better portrait of a family member, group, or clan.

As a descendant of several Mayflower passengers, one might think I should have also inherited their wanderlust, their courage, their strong will to go forward to create a new life for themselves... Most of us in our wonderful country have descended from courageous immigrants overcoming fears, losses, tragedies, and history to move on to make a new life for themselves and their families.

Today, I claim the courage of my British, Scottish, Welsh, Austrian, German and Irish ancestors to face my fear of failure and pick up my brushes, put them to paint, add water, and to practice, practice, practice.

May all who read this be inspired to do the same in whatever artistic domain has been alluding them...

1 comment:

Chris said...

Pat, you can move beyond the fear. I am reading a book to help creativity. It is pretty good. It is called Creative Strength Training by Jane Dunnawold.

Also Elizabeth Barton's blog was pretty good this week on creativity.