How to be a Fearless Artist

I love the feeling I get when I’m ready to make some art. I gather all my colorful supplies and make sure I’ve got plenty of light. Then, I look down at my clean, stark white canvas and suddenly I go blank. Blanker than the empty canvas. Fear suddenly enters into my heart. Like a lil’ wimp, I let that fear take me away from the art to go snack, rake the leaves, or (seriously?) clean the toilet.

the-scream

The Scream, Edvard Munch

Creative Courage

 

Writers do it too. Staring at the blinking cursor against the bright white background of the empty document, has the power to traumatize more effectively than a terrorist in war. Before you know it you’ll be laying in a fetal position hugging your stuffed animal and wondering how you ever thought you could be an artist.

lucas scott i suck

Lucas Scott, from One Tree Hill, experiencing writer’s block and typing, “I Suck.”

How to Develop Artistic Bravery

Artists like Bob Ross make it look easy. He fearlessly slops some paint down and creates a beautiful work of art. Below are some helpful tips to overcome fear:

1. Sketch -Before you start the finished piece, grab some cheap scratch paper, do some sketches and work out your ideas. It’d be awesome to create the masterpiece on your first try but that’s also a lot of pressure, and not always realistic. (It’s not impossible though.)

Constantly sketching and drawing will help you improve, which will build your confidence and you’ll be saying, “Goodbye Fear.”

2. It’s NOT permanent – Some art supplies can’t be erased like graphite pencil. So it feels like your marks will be permanent and if you make a mistake, what do you do? First, relax. Start out with a lighter touch and build gradually. Oil takes forever to dry so if you make a mark you’re not happy with just wipe the paint away and cover it up with more paint. Remember that many art mediums are forgiving and workable.

Or, like Bob Ross, you might get a “happy accident.”

3. Act Brave – Being an artist requires bravery because you’re doing something that cost you. Your art comes from inside of you. And what if people don’t like it? What if they put it down? Just be brave. And if you don’t feel brave, then PRETEND.

Do the opinions of other people strike terror in your heart? If so, be inspired by the war hero. Look fear in the eye, be strong and stand up for your artwork. Allow the reactions from people to be constructive criticism to help you improve.

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Hide the Knives! Van Gogh Self Portrait with bandaged ear

The Tortured Artist

Artists are sensitive and have to develop a thick skin. It may seem like I’m being a drama queen but I think fear is a common problem for everyone . . . not just the creative souls. Remember . . . feeling these raw emotions is a big part of art. And for me, overcoming fear makes me feel like a BOSS, and gives me the power to overcome whatever obstacles I might face.

bob-ross

Bob Ross!

Being Your Own “Worst” Critic

Do you like your art? Are you conveying your message? Are you giving it your all? Maybe bravery in art, is really in facing yourself.

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100 Days of Learning T-Shirt Art Project

My best friend is a grade school teacher and asked me to work on a school art project with her and her daughter. Of course, I’m always down for art. Her daughter is also an artist and we have a lot of fun making art together. We brainstormed for a couple of days and got a practice shirt out of the way, but I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

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Diamond

Finally the idea hit to use her kitten, Diamond. I recently took some pictures of her with plans to do a drawing so that was Puuuurrrr -fect. Haha, yea I went there. Based on the ideas we talked about during our brainstorming sessions, I came up with this design.

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Shirt design and sketch of Diamond

Everyone loved the idea so we got to work. We planned on using those two butterflies but they didn’t make the cut. I put my drawing of Diamond under the shirt and traced it with a pencil. Then after I added the sun I got started adding the fabric paint.

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My girl helping me out

I’ve never heard of this 100 days of learning thing, but I guess it’s something schools do when they hit 100 days in the school year. You have to use 100 things, so we glued a bunch of little diamonds.

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Diamond posing with her shirt

There’s Diamond checking out her portrait. She was upset that I made her quit messing with the shirt and look at the camera.

My friend thought about saying something along the lines of “being brighter.” So it seemed appropriate to use lyrics from Rhianna’s song, “Diamonds“: Shine Bright Like a Diamond. It’s also consistent with her personality.

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t-shirt drying

I forgot to take a picture of the finished shirt. We just added some more diamonds and the words “100 Days of Learning,” inside the sun and I wrote her name on the back. I also forgot to take a picture of the finished shirt I made for her mom. Haha, I was getting tired.

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The teacher’s shirt

I added a bunch of yellow, orange, and blue lightning bolts all around the shirt to represent all the electricity from the brain power. It still needed something else though. My friend finally came up with a really good finishing touch: At the bottom I wrote in blue paint, “Leads to a Brighter Future.”

These shirts were a lot of fun to make and I love supporting art and education.

Getting Motivated to Make Art

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The days are still long and hot. The deafening sound of cicadas can still be heard. I’m still waiting impatiently for football to start! Summertime isn’t over yet and even though I love those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer (any other Gilmore Girls fans love that song in s3e1??) I can’t waste another second . . . . I miss making art! But as much as I love making art I have to admit that being an artist can be crazy hard sometimes.

Where Do I Begin?

nike just do it

My biggest struggle is getting the motivation to get started. Self-employed artists can’t wait for motivation to kick in. Gotta be like Nike and Just Do It. I’m sure you’re like me and you have plenty of projects and ideas to work on so pick one and just get started. It’s that simple.

Self -Discipline

teddy roos discipline

I remember in High School our band was the best band in the area. For band members school officially started a month before classes started. And two Weeks before classes started we were at the school with the football team doing our 2 a days. dragon band

The Dragon Band had pride and discipline and that’s what made us so great. Or it’s possible that our band director scared the discipline into us . . . but heeey, that’s cool. Band was awesome!

If you struggle with discipline you might try making yourself accountable to someone. Or imagine what the end result will be like. I have a friend who makes bets with people. His last bet required him not to shave his face (which he hates).

Meet Dynamite

dynamite

This picture is the main thing stopping me with this project. I’m guessing it was taken with a disposable camera, or at least a film point and shoot, and they used flash which makes the details in the dog’s eyes and coat really hard to see. It’s just not a fun drawing and I don’t really want to do it.

But I know the finished piece will bring a huge smile to the face of Dynamite’s owner. I also know that overcoming the challenge feels awesome. And my skills will improve. PLUS, I might possibly help somebody who is reading my blog and looking for some motivation encouragement.

What exactly am I waiting for? A Firm Kick in the Pants! This is the perfect project to pull me out of summer time and get me back to work again . . . What do you do to get motivated to make art? Hopefully, you don’t struggle with that and you ARE making tons of art.