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Art, fear and obsession

A few evenings ago, I started re-reading Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life, Richard Meryman's excellent biography of one of my favorite artists since I was in my early teens. It got me thinking about the complicated reasons I keep doing art. Because it isn't exactly fun most of the time. A lot of it is a confrontation with my deepest fears. I am a perfectionist, and I'm afraid of not being good enough. It makes me extremely reluctant to start, and even more reluctant to persist through frustration, self doubt, and results that fall short of that impossibly high mark. It makes me want to give up. And it makes me angry at my cowardice and fragile ego.

That anger drove me out the door this dreary morning with my sketchbook and colored pencils to do yet another drawing of the VW Karmann Ghia rusting on a trailer in the alley, with which I've lately become oddly obsessed. I was going to do a violent scribble to bleed out the rage. Sometimes that helps, jolts me out of my funk, breaks me out of my inertia, and occasionally the energy comes across in a visually compelling way.

When I unfolded my stool and sat down to draw though, the fear and anger were washed away by sadness. It was a physical sensation that's hard to describe. I had to gently set it aside so I could focus.

Then I tried, once again, to resolve what was in front of me with what colored my outlook.


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Reader Comments (1)

You wrote: "...it is a confrontation with my deepest fears. I am a perfectionist, and I'm afraid of not being good enough."

Yet your work is of distinction. It brings me (and I'm certain many others) such pleasure to view and contemplate. It is dreamy, magical and moving. Thank you for sharing it with us - it truly is a gift.

May 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMary-Margaret

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