Fear and Vulnerability

"If you're afraid, what you paint will look like fear."

---Frank Arcuri, my painting teacher

"Regret" oil on canvas, 12x16'' This oil sketch fell so short of the vision in my head, and I'm embarrassed to share it. But it does illustrate my feelings of vulnerability.

Lately, a lot of insecurities have taken residency in my head.  Yesterday, I spent a few hours working on a still life commission of a jar of olive oil and a hunk of bread.  In a fit of loathing, I wiped out everything I painted.  

Now my canvas looks better.  That's how bad it was.

Some days I feel so unworthy and horrible, and doubly so, because now I'm on The Internet in this public way, and I'm revealing all of my paintings to the world, not just "the good paintings."  

There are no good paintings. 

I'm at a stage (hopefully it's a stage) where almost every painting is flawed in my eyes.  My brain is riddled with fears and doubts.  I found this list in my journal from this past May:

Some Fears:

You are not that good.

What are you thinking?

Why are you drawing so much attention to yourself?

You should hide in a cave.

What is the point?

a drawing from my sketchbook

I have to smile when I read this, because, deep down, I know the point  The point is, I just have to push through these days, and do the work.  I clock into my studio and I paint for three hours each morning, regardless of whatever emotions are besieging me.  I just do the work, and sometimes it's good, and sometimes it's bad.  Then I put it out there, into the universe, a.k.a. the internet.

There is nothing special about me having fears and feeling vulnerable; everyone struggles with these demons.  I have to trust that there is some benefit to sharing the steps of my journey, however faltering.  If I withheld my flaws, there would be no website.  In fact, in my lifetime, it's possible I may never reach that level of competency towards which I strive.  I still have to paint, and not worry about all that.

With this one life I have, I can find sustenance in the work itself, rather than the dictates of my fragile ego, and I can trust that I am on the right path.  I feel so much gratitude for each day, each new chance to follow my passion.

Just doing the work, and not worrying about silly fears...


Please leave a comment below, sharing your own method for dealing with fears and vulnerable feelings.  I will pick a name at random from the comment-leavers, and the winner will receive a free 8x10'' print of any artwork on my website.  Contest ends at 9 pm on Tuesday, December 8th.


Additional Note:  I will be part of a group show (Nelli Rae's Community Art Show Extravaganza) at  Nelli Rae's Kitchen, 8826 Easton Road, Revere, PA, 18953. The opening reception is this Friday, December 4, from 6-9 pm.  Everyone is invited!