Overcoming My Fear to Start Painting (Guest Post)

I just finished a weeklong art course, Find Your Joy, by amazing British abstract artist Louise Fletcher. You might call me a repeat offender, as this is my round three since the quarantine of 2020. With each time I’ve grown more satisfied and joyful . . .  and hungry for even more. I guess I’m hooked.

Clearly, some of us find creativity addictive. For some – perhaps most? – it can be terrifying.

Overcoming My Fear to Start Painting

If I’m honest, I was . . . I am!  . . . one of those terrified people. It feels ridiculous to admit fearing something so non-lethal. And yet, here I am, a knot in my stomach as I approach the art table. I had no idea how much I was holding back until a 9X12 sheet of pristine-white Canson® watercolor paper stared right back at me.

Louise did a magnificent job of uncovering the little lurkers residing inside my brain. She chipped away at their rampant perfectionism and pervasive fear of failure. Through a range of exercises, she turned failure on its head – nothing to be afraid of, everything to welcome and celebrate. It’s as if someone is cheering you on after each stumble and fall, “Good job!! Keep trying! You are getting stronger . . . you are learning something new.”

I must say that this is neither my personality nor my background nor history. Through the years, self- and others-imposed pressure to always be ‘perfect’ has masqueraded in many different socially acceptable forms.

Beyond all that mental and emotional noise and clutter, the blank page gently insisted, Go ahead, give it a stab…make a mark, draw a swirl, splash some color…  see what happens. It’s just paper, not the end of the world. You might even like it in the end . . . And even if you don’t, there’s still the back side!

From smudge to scribble, from splash to swirl, I set my wobbly feet on the colorful and messy Perfectionists Anonymous path. It felt at first like gearing up to jump off a cliff, eyes shut tight, only to realize that I was just a few feet away from the ground . . . Do not fear.

Guest Post by Gordana

I was born and grew up a carefree atheist in a country that doesn’t exist anymore; Yugoslavia. In the second year of English literature studies at the University of Belgrade I became a believer. Fast-forward a few years when I met my husband while dubbing the JESUS Film into Serbian. Fast-forward a bit more to when we married and had kids who are the rare breed of true Floridians.

I’ve been a writer since birth, became a gardener to avoid HOA fines and a sourdough bread baker to preserve my sanity during the pandemic. That is when I also started messing with paint under careful supervision of our outrageously spoiled cat Palčica (Thumbelina in Serbian).

Read more guest posts from Gordana on God Fully Known.


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