I was emailing a friend who is also an artist and a collector of my paintings, and she wrote about how scary it is to make a painting for someone. For anyone, really. They might not like it, it might not look like the person/dog/scene that the buyer was picturing, the buyer might think you're a talentless hack.... and on and on.
I confessed to her that I'm scared pretty much all the time. As I drive up to a show, and especially to a new show, I am often literally shaking. I'm afraid that the people at the show, buyers and artists, are going to look at my paintings and see right off the bat that I am self-taught, that I don't know the rules, that I'm a messy painter, that I can't draw, and on and on and on.
But I told her that I just get a hold of myself, pull myself together, and go on and do it. Be scared, sure - but do it. We are all scared - or at least, I suspect we all are.
After I wrote this to her, I went to the home page of the Piedmont Plein Air Paintout, that I'm participating in this week. I started looking at the paintings by the participating artists - and totally freaked out again. Sigh.
I left the site, got a handle on my fear and paranoia, and went back to the site later in the day. When I looked again, I could see clearly that my paintings do stand up next to everyone else's - and after all, I was chosen to participate! That should be enough to quiet the fears, right?
I'm sharing all of this not so you all will tell me that I'm a good painter, etc. I'm sharing it because so many people tell me all the time how frightened they are - of painting, of trying to paint, of applying to shows, of thinking of quitting their jobs to follow their dreams. People tell me how brave I am - and I just wanted to share that, really, I am not brave. I am scared and hesitant, but I go ahead and do it anyways. And anyone can do this. It doesn't take not being afraid. It takes not letting your fear paralyze you.
My faith; my belief in what I'm doing; my dear and supportive husband; my dear and supportive daughter, brother, sister, father and stepmother; and all the people who read this blog, go to the shows and buy my paintings, all of these people, all of you, help me find the courage that I need to go ahead, fear in hand, and do what needs to be done.