Art & Fear… on Charcoal
So since the death of my “Advice to the Young at Art” project, I’ve been getting questions like every other day. Funny how these things happen. I need to take more time editing, but here goes.
Q: Lasha writes: I’m a young artist/teacher I work with pencils and charcoal and would like to move on, but I’m seriously afraid of using color. What is the easiest way of overcoming this fear?
A: My immediate answer is that you go get the colored pencils put them all in a jar in front of you and throw away all the charcoal and black pencils. Okay, you can leave them at a friend’s house if you think you’ll need later. The point is that you’ll discover that your creativity will always find a way. There’s no easy way to overcome fear. In my personal process I’ve learned to work through it. But the best thing about being an artist is that there are no rules, no real how- to’s or musts, no wrong or right and you can go at your own pace. The art-making process is unique for each artist, it is an exploration of many things even the fear. In my own experience I realized that when at times I was feeling stuck with a material, it was because I needed to push it to it’s fullest. To stick to it till I was sick of it and that prompted me to try something else. Maybe there’s something I have yet to learn about that medium. If you have fear, explore the fear with the materials you’re used to working with. And if you feel you’re ready to move on, the best way to do that is to just go for it. Non objective drawing is great for that. Don’t overthink it, the fear will come along till it dissolves and guess what? When you’re on your way to creating new colorful works, new fears will come up. I am assuming you teach children, so I propose an experiment. Sit down with them to draw and notice how they’ll just go for it and not think about a thing when you put paper and pencils or crayons in front of them. They can be the support and nurturing you need to move forward and overcome the fear.