Breaking Through Fear

art struggles experiments

In the interest of "work smarter, not harder" & "done is better than perfect" in 2023, I'm resurrecting some blog posts I started months (or even years) ago and posting them in whatever state they're in. 


One sentence in my "kitchen sink" mantra I've been saying 21 times a day for a couple months now is: Fear no longer rules my decisions. Despite that, I've been living with a fearful scarcity mentality when it comes to art supplies, and it took a challenge from my coach to finally break through it.

Despite meaning to paint on a full sheet of watercolor paper for over a year now, I still hadn't done it. So my coach called me on my bullshit and provided the accountability I needed to get my rear in gear.

I had been feeling frustrated, stale, and blocked in my art practice again. I'd been missing the joy, and felt like I'd been doing great at the business side but lacking in creating new work. The assignment my coach & I came up with was: use at least 3 full sheets of paper to paint just for the fun of it.

It felt scary to commit to that! A sheet seemed so huge--they're 22x30 in, and the largest size I paint on regularly is a quarter of that (literally--I tear up full sheets into smaller pieces because it's more economical than buying pre-cut small sizes).

4 different types of watercolor paper

But taking stock of my actual supplies, not just believing what fear and assumptions told me, showed me I was being silly. A sheet of watercolor paper costs around $5-6, and here I was, being stingy and precious about having 31 sheets on hand. 31! Some of which I'd been hoarding like a dragon for 2 years.

So it was time.

I picked a day, thought about what I might like to try, and committed to it. I had technical difficulties trying to record my painting session, but here's some of the process in action:



I ended up enjoying it so much I used 5 sheets of paper instead of the 3 my coach assigned me! It took the first couple for me to really warm up to it and let go, but I had a lot of fun flinging paint for painting #3, and am actually pleased with a couple of them I created.

I'm writing this post weeks after doing this, but I still feel the effects. I am less worried about "wasting" my art supplies. I rediscovered how to have joy in my painting. I feel freer in many areas of my life as well, unblocked and like I'm making progress towards my plans & goals.

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