Painting again, and fear of failure

After a long break travelling, I got back into the studio last weekend. Being away gave me time to think about my work, about how I want to paint this year, and about simplifying my life to make more time for important activities.

I have a bad habit of accumulating projects which does tend to mean that life is lived at a fairly brisk pace, and that leaves little space for calm reflection. The idea of moving my studio to the summerhouse in the garden has been percolating for some time. This seemed a great moment to make the shift, but it has meant a further couple of non-painting weeks. I was a little concerned that ‘painter’s block’ might creep in. But the new studio setting is really conducive to painting and I’ve made a start again – with a theme in mind for the next few works.

And if I needed any further reassurance, two blog post today have helped to motivate and enthuse me for 2012’s painting. This morning I saw a pointer to this great post on fear of failure. I would agree with the author’s comment about the video of MIlton Glaser. If you only watch one – make it that one.  Donna Zagotta has also written a great post about pushing through the tough painting sessions. I rather like first and third of her five tips because they apply to life in general as well as to painting.

It feels wrong to publish a post without an image in it – so here’s a work in progress inspired by the drive across the vast Karoo in South Africa. The fore ground and background are working nicely – now for the bit in the middle …


11 thoughts on “Painting again, and fear of failure

  1. I definitely have a collection of them, Doug. 😀 They do gradually get finished, but some of them ‘rest’ for quite some time.

  2. Well done Vandy ..I like them.
    Re Painter block I am reminded of Churchills response to the question about his own painting and what was the most difficult thing ..he just said “getting started”

    1. Thank you, Malcolm and Sandy. Lovely to know my work is appreciated from so far away. Isn’t the internet, brilliant?

  3. Painter’s block? are you kidding me? I saw the birth of this Karroo pic and it just “appeared” out of Vandy’s paint brush. My jaw is still hanging down in the region of my knees!

    1. That’s fairly rare. Quite often I faff around the studio for a couple of hours, and then only paint for 20 minutes. That can be sooo frustrating.

      1. One of my lecturers at art school said that the moment we start calling ourselves “artists” we have failed. He said that we needed to think of ourselves as art students for the rest of our lives, then we will be growing. I think by the same token, faffing about qualifies as being an art student and growing. You took me so far out of comfort zone when we were throwing paint around I was ready to have a huge anxiety attack! But then I realised that each painting is just an experience that is either successful or not according to our perception. But in reality they are all successes because even if they don’t work, they are learning curves.

        1. That’s spot on. There are times when that, “Oh my word. I’m way out of my depth” feeling is really quite fun – because you know it’s going to stretch you.

  4. Thanks for sharing those links Vandy! I think all artists need continuous reassurance about the whole creative process and this time of year is a great time to set some goals and just keep working. Love the beginning of the new one!

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