Facing fear
Facing fear, 3: Stepping out of one's comfort zone

Facing fear, 2: On courage and confidence

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From Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland:

"The desire to make art begins early. Among the very young this is encouraged (or at least indulged as harmless) but the push toward a 'serious' education soon exacts a heavy toll on dreams and fantasies....Yet for some the desire persists, and sooner or later must be addressed. And with good reason: your desire to make art -- beautiful or meaningful or emotive art -- is integral to your sense of who you are. Life and Art, once entwined, can quickly become inseparable; at age ninety Frank Lloyd Wright was still designing, Imogen Cunningham still photographing, Stravinsky still composing, Picasso still painting.

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"But if making art gives substance to your sense of self, the corresponding fear is that you're not up to the task -- that you can't do it, or can't do it well, or can't do it again; or that you're not a real artist, or not a good artist, or have no talent, or have nothing to say. The line between the artist and his/her work is a fine one at best, and for the artist it feels (quite naturally) like there is no such line. Making art can feel dangerous and revealing. Making art is dangerous and revealing. Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be. For many people, that alone is enough to prevent their ever getting started at all -- and for those who do, trouble isn't long in coming. Doubts, in fact, soon rise in swarms:

"I am not an artist -- I am a phony. I have nothing worth saying. I'm not sure what I'm doing. Other people are better than I am. I'm only a [student/physicist/mother/whatever]. I've never had a real exhibit. No one understands my work. No one likes my work. I'm no good.

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"Yet viewed objectively, these fears obviously have less to do with art than they do with the artist. And even less to do with the individual artworks. After all, in making art you bring your highest skills to bear upon the materials and ideas you most care about. Art is a high calling -- fears are coincidental. Coincidental, sneaky and disruptive, we might add, disguising themselves variously as laziness, resistance to deadlines, irritation with materials or surroundings, distraction over the achievements of others -- indeed anything that keeps you from giving your work your best shot. What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don't, quit. Each step in the artmaking process puts that issue to the test."

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'It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.''  - E.E. Cummings

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"The most important thing is that you love what you are doing, and the second that you are not afraid of where your next idea will lead." - Charles Eames

Heading homeImages: Dartmoor ponies on the village Commons, and Tilly heading home.


I feel very glad to visit your blog. I like to share this photos to facebook and twitter too. Thanks for sharing with us.

Maybe somebody wired me wrong, but I actually like the feeling of being afraid--I figure it's a sign that I'm stepping out of my comfort zone, which is where most of the juicy creative stuff lies.

I'm not immune to the rantings of inner critics and I can procrastinate with the best of 'em, but fear is a guiding light, and I thank the Muse for it.

And on that note, thank YOU for your wonderful blog, Terri--a welcome reward at the end of many a long day!

More timely messages for growing myself up, becoming who I really am, and knowing ... I love what I am doing. Not being afraid of the next step is coming!

I love the two quotes you included, Terri. Together they make my pencil move and I pin the words with my safety pin into a place visible all day. Thanks.

love those magic ponies and all the inspiring words, it's 3am time to make coffee no 2 (my favourite) & then get back to the drawing board!

and just another thought re making art there's no choice is there? I mean really... what would you rather be doing????

and just another thought re making art... there's no choice... I mean really what would I rather be doing?

Terri, truth, truth and more truth. You are hitting a vein in me that need addressing by myself and it seems your words are light!!

As a non-artist (or an artist of farming??) I nonetheless find much to reflect on here. I particularly like the Wyeth quote in the picture captions, in relation to the picture itself. Thank you, once again. And oh, those magical wild Dartmoor ponies!

The next post (on Thursday) is for you, Iain!

Howard, Tilly, and I send our love.

Coincidence: both your blog and Theordora Goss's have a pathway in the woods, which is one of my
favorite sights, in paintings, photos and real life.

Ah, and in the not-to-distant future, 'Dora will be visiting here, walking on paths through the Devon woods. What will we both blog about then, I wonder? Stay tuned....

Oh, that's magical. I can imagine the scent of the moor and meeting of two of my heros in the world
of myth.

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