“It’s hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off.”   – Florence and the Machine

I was out running last week and this song came on. I hadn’t heard it in years. Besides being a great running song, it spoke to me and has been banging around in my head ever since. My oldest daughter used to be obsessed with Florence and the Machine and so it was great to hear this song again. And like most things in my life I found it relates to my painting.

I have taken on more mentorees these last few months. I have had the time since I am not teaching now and since commissions have gotten tabled until the world is a little safer. So, I am helping artists from home while they are in their homes through emails and video chats and phone calls. I even have two artists from Australia. Very cool. And one thing I tend to continuously notice is how there can be barriers to painting well that have nothing to do with knowledge or technique.

One particularly devilish one is Fear.

And I am a victim too. Some days I walk up to my painting and am overcome with the time it will take to finish it. Or frustrated by a passage and not knowing how to render that section the way I want. Or the design becomes a mire of indecision. What to do… what to do…

Ah, Fear, you devilish rogue!

Always lurking over the shoulder as I load up a brush or pick up a stick. Brush him off.
Creating havoc in the mind while I sketch and resketch and scrubble new ideas. Brush him off.

Look Fear in the eye and spit in it. Being an artist takes a certain amount of recklessness and courage. I mean how many other professions put their heart out there along with their invoice?

Besides… you can do it.

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