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Inviting Fear in for a Diet Coke

How you ever felt afraid when you are making art?  I do.  The fear of ruining it.  The fear of it not being what I imagined it would be.  The fear of so many things.

I am tired of fear.  So, when Fear stopped by my studio today I invited her in for a Diet Coke.  Turns out Fear is a pretty nice lady who means well but is a bit extreme.

As we talked I began to respect how Fear serves and motivates me at times.  Fear of paying late fees gets me to pay my bills on time.  Fear of car accidents gets me to put my seat belt on when I drive.  Fear of cavities gets me to brush my teeth and floss twice a day.  Okay, I only floss once a day.  Fear said that is what she wants to do – help motivate me.

“But sometimes you are a bit strong and I find it hard to do what you are telling me.  So hard in fact I am often frozen,” I said.

“You are supposed to think about what I am showing you and then decide your own path.  I am not supposed to decide what you do,” replied Fear.  Oops.  I misunderstood fear.  Since I had her in my studio I brought out a painting that was stalled due to fear.

“I was afraid of the nose.  I tried a little but it was the ugliest nose ever,” I said.

Fear replied,”It was the ugliest nose.  But why did you stop?”

“I didn’t know how to draw a nose. ”

“Do you now?”

“YES!  I took a workshop that taught me the fundamentals of face drawing and I learned tons about shading and especially noses.  I searched out that class because I realized I didn’t have the technical skills I wanted/needed.”  Fear motivated me to learn the skills to draw a face.  Fear was my friend and I had treated her like my enemy.  Oops.

I went to the canvas with the intention of painting on the missing nose but what I heard Fear say was, “You might ruin it with paint.”

Instead of just blindly reacting to the fear I started to think about it.  Fear was right. I might ruin it with paint because I didn’t remember what paints I had used so long ago on this painting.  The color matching issue, even if close, would bug me.  Really bug me.  Since I was thinking instead of being frozen by fear I realized that watercolors were the way to go.  They were translucent so the color matching issue would be easy to correct.

They are easily removable if my first attempt is not what I want.  I can’t ruin it with watercolors.

Now that I am listening to fear instead of running from it, I began to notice things I wanted to improve in the painting – like the hair.  Watercolor is my friend.

Next I started to wonder why I never put a neck on her.  Was she meant to be a floating ghost head?  Who knows, but that is the next area for me to work on.  For now, I want to enjoy my Diet Coke with my new friend, Fear.

*After reading this post, my dear hubby said, “I thought Fear was more of a Mountain Dew type.”

“She might be, but I offered her a  Diet Coke.”

Want to see more painting?  Check out all the great artists at Paint Party Friday!

{ 33 comments… add one }

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  • Michelle February 17, 2012, 7:22 am

    What a great way of looking at fear! Her nose suits her :).
    Stay inspired!

  • Annette G February 17, 2012, 10:18 am

    Such a terrific attitude and her nose looks as though it belongs to her perfectly. Happy PPF and have a great weekend, Annette x

  • Maria February 17, 2012, 10:33 am

    You looked right into her eyes and met the fear. Her nose turned out BEAUTIFUL! I think she has no neck for a reason–it’s a statement. If it makes you feel any better I have all the same fears you do.

  • Nigel February 17, 2012, 11:02 am

    Interesting take on fear. I always thought the idea of fear was to stop you doing something stupid, so maybe she multi-tasks 🙂

    Nice transformation of the face 🙂

  • Debbie February 17, 2012, 11:18 am

    I think you’re right about fear and I’m sure all artists experience fear. Doubt is another big one for me. I love seeing how you worked through the process here and opted for watercolor. Her nose is looking good!

  • Faye February 17, 2012, 12:08 pm

    Carolyn, what a great post about fear! Your nose looks terrific, but do put a neck on that beautiful woman. Finding just the right class to learn in is sometimes a problem. So glad you found yours.

  • NatashaMay February 17, 2012, 12:34 pm

    When all else fails have a diet coke. 🙂 Great post and portrait!

  • Mary C. Nasser February 17, 2012, 1:17 pm

    Nicely written post and lovely painting!
    Love that golden hair!
    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  • Silke February 17, 2012, 1:53 pm

    Love that post!! And your painting. Her nose looks great!

    I have a friend who used to say that she would keep on ruining a painting until suddenly it was better than she had ever thought. I find that most of my paintings go through a stage where I think I might have ruined it. But then I tell myself that it’s only paint and a canvas and then I go on and they always turn out better than I had planned. 🙂

    Glad to have found you!! Hugs, Silke

  • yvonne February 17, 2012, 2:01 pm

    Everyone has fear about things, but don’t let it keep you from creating. The more you create the more you conquer that fear. Just have fun, it’s only paint! I think you did a great job. Faces are hard. We used to just draw noses, then just draw eyes, dozens of them, and don’t forget to really LOOK and SEE things. I’m not telling you how to do things, just saying how I conquer my fear. Thanks for commenting on my blog too btw. Glad you stopped in.

  • Marcie February 17, 2012, 2:29 pm

    You made me smile here. Me too – I’m all too familiar and friendly with ‘fear’. I like to think she’s our ‘friend that’s too often misunderstood’. And – what a beautiful face you painted!

  • Tracey Fletcher King February 17, 2012, 4:51 pm

    You are too nice… being so generous and making friends with fear just makes us all look bad, but maybe you got her on a good day…. I actually thought she was Dr Pepper sort of gal… tried that stuff once on a trip to your fair country and it was scary !!!… glad you attacked the nose though and it turned out great…xx

  • Michelle February 17, 2012, 4:52 pm

    I revised my family history. I was feeling fearless and thought you might like to see :).
    Stay inspired!

  • Ginny February 17, 2012, 5:40 pm

    Fear is someone I know too well especially when I am painting. I want to find my own style but I think that fear keeps me from moving forward with it. This was a great post. I think your painting is lovely and the nose looks just right. Have a great week and thank you for all of your kind comments.

  • Sheri Cook February 17, 2012, 5:58 pm

    LOVE your post on facing fear. The art is superb too!
    Wonder how my fear looks if I were to recreate it on canvas?
    Happy PPF!
    Sheri Cook
    Happy Horse Studio

  • Daniele Valois February 17, 2012, 6:55 pm

    What a great great great post! Awesome!

  • Carol February 17, 2012, 9:09 pm

    Wonderful artwork ~ powerful expression ~namaste, Carol (A Creative Harbor) Happy PPF ^_^

  • cat @ sea.sky.stone. February 17, 2012, 9:51 pm

    I’m so glad that poor girl finally saved up enough to get a nose job! It looks great–brilliant idea to use watercolors 🙂

  • Paula - Buenos Aires February 17, 2012, 11:14 pm

    Fear is the one that whispers “Are you SURE you need another layer? Why not STOP here?” You have a great relationship with her. Let me check my fridge, I think there must be a diet Coke somewhere. 😉

  • Christine February 17, 2012, 11:23 pm

    Lovely job Carolyn, and good for you overcoming the ‘fear’….we all have it to some degree, I know I do.

  • Rita McGregor February 18, 2012, 12:58 am

    That’s the perfect nose for her. I almost spit coffee on my laptop with your hubby’s Mountain Dew comment! Maybe Red Bull? ROFL!! 😉

  • Valerie-Jael February 18, 2012, 5:25 am

    Great post and lovely painting! Hugs, Valerie

  • Elisa Choi February 18, 2012, 8:58 am

    A beautiful story of Fear and You. I love it so much! Indeed we mustn’t be frozen by fear but act towards it. All the negative can be turned to positive. It’s a matter of choice. I love your painting. That nose is awesome! Way to go my dear!

  • Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors February 18, 2012, 10:01 am

    this is great. Yes, Fear sits on my shoulder too. She gets more strident when I make a mistake and can’t figure out how to correct it though… I just finished (gave up) a painting that makes a lovely lady look mannish. arghhh

    happy PPF!

  • carlarey February 18, 2012, 11:33 am

    Brilliant post! Can’t wait to see how this painting progresses, so far, making Fear your friend has worked beautifully.

  • geckostone February 18, 2012, 2:31 pm

    Wow, what a great post! You did wonderful with your painting and I just love your conversation with “Fear”. Ya know this little dialogue helped me with not only my own painting fears but alot of other phobias I have. So now I will offer them all a variety of sodas next time they stop by for a visit! Hugs, Deb

  • Gloria J Zucaro February 18, 2012, 5:36 pm

    Thank you so much for your little story about “Fear”. It was such a good lesson and so entertaining. Your nose came out brilliantly, and the strands in the hair, too.

  • Nicole Campanella/Beadwright February 18, 2012, 5:40 pm

    This is a great post!!! The painting came out beautifully

  • Gwen February 19, 2012, 7:58 am

    Your approach to fear is a very sound one. The results are pretty amazing!

  • Marjie Kemper February 19, 2012, 1:20 pm

    Oh how I enjoyed this post! And your painting. Raising my glass (which happens to full of Diet Coke) to you…. have a great day, Carolyn!

  • FranT February 20, 2012, 12:35 pm

    the nose is great! And I really love the red in the back.
    I laughed so much at the end of this. Mountain Dew, hahaha!
    I’m pretty sure my Fear drinks coffee, black, no sugar.

  • JKW February 20, 2012, 6:56 pm

    Great nose. When I had issues with the mouth, I went to bed every night and thought about drawing a mouth, finally got it. . . visualization works for me. Blessings, Janet PPF

  • Annabelle February 23, 2012, 8:35 am

    Great post. We all have fears and share many of the same.
    When we face fears head on they aren’t as intimidating as once were.
    The lady’s nose really does suit her well.