An Artist’s Anxiety — JOSH LEIDOLF AKA

So you have been to your local art store and bought a canvas, a set of brushes, and a few tubes of paints. You are anxious to put a great idea on the canvas; a true masterpiece that makes you the Van Gogh or Edvard Munch of the future. You squeeze out little dabs of paints on your palette, wet your brush carefully, take a deep breath and want to get to work, but the fear kicks in and you freeze. You stand still or sit motionless in front of the white canvas. You stare at it and she stares back at you. You do not know how or where to start and she won’t tell you. You feel a huge burden on your shoulders. The longer you gaze at the blank canvas, the more the anxiety pierces your heart and the more paralyzed you feel. Hours go by and you still have not put as much as a single dab of paint on your canvas.

You are not alone in feeling anxiety. Even the most skilled artists are plagued from time to time by this paralyzing sensation. Anxiety comes in many forms and at many different levels through the process of creating art. The fear of starting a project or the fear of making an irreversible mistake, especially if you are near the completion of a beautiful work encumbers the novice and experienced artists alike.

Type 1: Fear of the White Canvas

Description & Causes: The initial anxiety many artists experience. You have a great idea, but you don’t know where to start. Or you are ambivalent as to what to paint at all. You may be experiencing a sort of idea-bottleneck: so many thoughts and ideas float in your head, which causes you to freeze in front of the blank canvas.

Timeline: this may happen before the project starts

Action Plan: Plan, plan and plan before you start the project. Break down the different stages of the project and think about which one should come first. Plan your project, take a deep breath, and simply jump into it. Once you have put your first dab of paint on the canvas, your initial anxiety will quickly disappear. If you have many ideas and are ambivalent about what to paint, simply paint all of your ideas (of course, on different canvases).

Paint one idea at a time. Art is very subjective. You may not like one of your paintings, but others may love it. This is why you should always try to make several slightly different versions of every painting. In other words, make a serial of a subject. In the worst case scenario, you end up with a painting that no one likes, yet you learned something through the process. You can always paint a white coat on your canvas and start afresh or as a peer of mine used to say: don’t worry if you didn’t like a painting; just give it away as a gift to someone that you don’t like!!

Type 2: Fear of Making a Mistake

Description & Causes: You have already painted a beautiful image, but you want to add extra features to it. You worry if you make a mistake and mess up your whole work. You think that an irreversible mistake will leave you in agony and regret. Perhaps this painting could become your “Starry Night” or “Scream”, but you think you may run the risk of forever destroying it.

Timeline: While the project is ongoing.

Action Plan: You have 3 options here:

A) You can leave the painting alone if it’s already good enough as it is. Then you can paint a second or even a third version of it, but this time with the extra feature. Now you have a serial of the same subject. If one is messed up, at least you have another version.

B) You can paint the extra feature on a transparent sheet, like a piece of glass, and carefully place it on your painting just to see how the extra feature fit within the rest of your painting before you get to work at it. You can, for example, use the glass from a frame, but be cautious not cut your fingers on the sharp edges. Alternatively, a transparent plastic folder would do the job more safely. Be sure that the painting is dry before trying this method.

C) You can photograph your painting before continuing, so at least you have an electronic image of it in case you destroy it. Of course, a photograph is no substitute for the original work, but at least you have the electronic image as a consolation. However, this may not always offer a consolation. Depending on your personality, looking at the photo of a painting that you destroyed later may rather cause you more agony and continued grief. If you are the type of a person who burns the pictures of your ex-partners, you should not photograph your paintings before adding extra features. If you are the type of the person who likes to preserve the past and still cherish good memories when you look at your old photos, strategy C will work well for you.

Remember (1), there is no mistake that you cannot undo, especially if you work with oil or acrylics. In the worst case scenario, you can always paint over your canvas and start all over again.

Remember (2), if you don’t keep pushing the envelope because you fear to mess up your work, you will always remain a novice.

JOSH LEIDOLF AKA is a transparent artist. His art is transparent, his artist’s name is TRAN$PARENT and his message to all of humanity is concerning being transparent. “Be transparent along with your beloved ones, be transparent along with your business associates, however, most importantly be transparent with yourself. Feed yourself the correct message on a daily basis that yes you’ll do something that you just place your mind to and yes, you can also change the world! If you are looking for partnerships for the transparent artist and money art visit the site.

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