DEALING WITH ARTIST ANXIETY…
I have a confession to make. Something that I don’t tell many people. But today – I’m gonna lay everything on the line and tell one of my darkest deepest secrets. I actually have a huge anxiety when it comes to painting. And this artist anxiety really gets bad – immediately after I’ve had a super successful painting. Now while you might be thinking that’s quite odd, IT IS – It’s like there’s a voice in my head that starts to tell me these lies like “You know you’re not good enough. Why are you even trying?”
IDENTIFYING THE SOURCE OF ANXIETY…
This mindset – is really stupid – And to be honest I had no idea where it originated – until I started digging into my past. You see I grew up in a very strict home. I wasn’t allowed to listen to pop music, rock music or anything with drums in it. I wasn’t allowed to watch certain movies like Harry Potter – even in college. I had to dress a certain way to belong and even act a certain way to be accepted. Basically – I was raised to be perfect in every way and to mold to an image that wasn’t me at all.
While those in my life who rigidly forced me to mold to this standard meant well – that perfectionist attitude still robs me of the element of joyful and messy creativity – which is what art is really about, right? Perhaps, you too suffer from crippling perfectionism as well – but maybe for different reasons… How do you overcome something that seems so paralyzing to the one thing you enjoy so much?
HOW TO OVERCOME ART ANXIETY..
Well, for me, it’s in a strange way simple. If I feel paralyzed by fear – I simply place purposeful limitations on my art. And yeah – I know that sounds really weird – but for some reason forcing yourself to work with limited supplies or with a special type of technique or just one color is actually the best way to break through one of these episodes.
MIXING ALL MY PAINTS – THERAPEUTIC RELIEF…
So today – as I’m sure you already have an inkling – I’m going to be mixing all my watercolor tube paints together and creating as Safia Nygard (another Youtube whom I got this idea from) Frankenstein color. Which I will then be using to paint an entire illustration.
Now before I mix all these colors together – as you can probably tell – I first wanted to swatch all my colors on some student grade watercolor paper. I did this – because I wanted to determine how many opaque and transparent colors I owned – to kind of get an idea of what type of consistency my Frankenstein color would be. If you are curious as to what transparent and opaque watercolors are – I’ll provide a link to my blog where I discuss these in-depth.
THE WONDER OF GUM ARABIC…
OH! And here's a little tip for you! In order to keep the vibrancy of my Frankenstein color and not dilute it with water – I added some gum arabic solution with a small amount of water and used this to mix up my color. By doing it this way – my color still remains vibrant – but also makes it very glossy. As a side note – if you have some dried up watercolors in your palette and can’t seem to refresh them – add some of this stuff and it should help solidify those colors again as well as make them more vibrant than before. So that’s just a tip for you…
Alright – so here we go – mixing all my colors together and the color might surprise you – it’s kind of a deep army green with a twinge of brown undertone. The color also has a slight shimmer due to my iridescent watercolors. I have to say this color really surprised me and is quite gorgeous – especially for garden backgrounds. But trying to paint an entire illustration in this color was quite tricky. But I found a way and I have to say I think it came out quite nicely…
Catherine MCNAMARAJune 13, 2018 at 12:35 pm
I love your work, I love your videos and I love your positivity. You are such a wonderful inspiration! Do you sell prints of your work?
Kathy FriedmanJune 25, 2018 at 4:25 am
That was pretty amazing. Honestly, I thought it would be a brown with some kind of undertone to it, I just couldn’t figure out what the undertone would be. I thought it might be a bit more bluer than green thus I was wrong on the undertone. I really like the painting you made from it. I do get the anxiety allllllllllll the time. Mine is mostly subject matter. I have been practicing my techniques and I get too afraid to commit to a subject matter. This evening I had to remind myself that it’s just paper, water and pigment. If I don’t like it, change it and use it in a mixed media project or put it in the bin and move on….lol Thanks for sharing this. It’s a great creative stoker!!
Kendall MoyaJuly 27, 2019 at 1:24 pm
I´m Deaf, and would like to purchase and take one of your watercolor courses. Are there captins in the videos?
MisfitJuly 27, 2019 at 1:49 pm
This is something we are currently looking into. At the moment – my courses do not have captions but we are currently researching how to add them in the future.
PatSeptember 2, 2019 at 10:55 am
Non-painter here, but I really love your illustration. Totally envious of your skills. And talking about setting limits reminds me of free-verse poets who, when inspiration fails, will start writing sonnets or some such. Something with Rules & Structure & Meter. It seems to work! And you’ve discovered the same kind of Thing with color – well done