Artists-Everything You Want Is On The Other Side of Fear

Jen Underwood
May 19, 2019 · 3 min read

Someone on Quora asked if you needed to be vulnerable to be successful as an Artist, and I answered, yes. From the very beginning of my work as an Abstract Artist, I learned very fast, I had to surrender to the act, and not keep a sweaty, tight grip on it.

You feel the pressure at times, to paint the “perfect” piece. It has to look good, has to be good in technique, and has to convey a message. The fear of failure is so strong, it was shocking to me. Once, I moved past this one obstacle though, another one was waiting for me-Letting go. An Artist in Expressionism especially, really has to let go, and release themselves onto the painting in order for it to be successful.

I painted something one day that bothered me for weeks. I could not stand the look of it because it was too much emotion, too many sharp edges. So, I grabbed it and started to work on it again, until it morphed into something else. It worked. I had more likes on that piece on Instagram than the other one.

Painting: Speak

Painting is like hanging onto something you have to let go of. You don’t want to do it, you are scared, but there is no choice in the matter. Letting go will save you ,it is the answer. You are raw, vulnerable and open. To make matters worse, you are open to criticism and judgement as well as there is nothing you can do about it.

The trick is to tell yourself truly, that if people hate your work, it is just not right for them. Maybe they are not “in that place”, maybe they are not ready to feel certain emotions, maybe they cannot see the point you are making, or the colors bother them. It is never personal. I keep telling myself that. Not everyone will like everything you paint.

How good do you feel though when you let out your emotions? Did you smile as you finished it? Did you feel a strong sense of inner peace? This to me says I have done a painting well, and my gut instinct tells me to stop.

Everything we want is on the other side of fear. Nothing can get done, and nobody can see what is in our hearts and souls if we do not even try.

Maybe my work is extreme, I have a series that is titled that, but I can say with peace in me, that I paint to the full extent of my vulnerability. It is the only way to paint.