July 14, 2013

Fearing Failure, Staying Safe

Today I spent a lot of time brainstorming ideas for an upcoming project.  Gathering my sketch pad, I cruised through the pages looking for a good sized blank spot.  The homework assignment at the end of lesson one in the online class I took was to start thinking of an image for the fiber collage using clip art or coloring books, and clipping images from magazines or other imagery sources for inspiration.  My notes are voluminous.  My work...zero.  Does the doodling of ideas count as art or even starting art?

Next I found myself looking at ideas for other projects like Teesha Moore's fabric journals (would I even use one?) which incorporate a lot of the same basic techniques as Susan Sorrell's work, layering fabric, embelishing with embroidery stitches or beads.  Still, I have nothing but notes on paper to show for the day.

So why don't I get past this step?  Thinking back on many other things I've always wanted to try but didn't, I finally have to admit to myself that I'm still afraid of failure, afraid as being perceived as a joke or as an insult to other artists by calling myself an artist.  When my husband and I went to the Laguna Arts Festival and visited the booths of artists at each of the three venues, he would often mention that I am an artist and I was immediately horrified and tried to brush it off and change the subject.  No matter how much I try to talk myself into believing in myself, I just don't.

My lack of confidence does not squash my lack of desire to be better.  However, it does squash my ability to just get started.  Now what?  My inner critic is saying that I SHOULD be embarrassed and should hide what I make.  If I never have to show anyone, will that give me the mental permission to go beyond planning a project and allow me to get my hands dirty. 

If I don't do something now, I'll never do it.  I have had a long stretch of time now to get dirty and make something, but I use the laundry or bursts of cat fur (and yes, I do think they blow it off in bursts to amuse themselves, the rotten furballs that should be bald) to be too busy to make something, thus safe from failure.  I'm beginning to think I need therapy more than I need art classes!!!

Step one:  Put away the darned art books and magazines.
Step two: Sit at the studio desk and....do SOMEthing.

It's time.