taking risks

May 9, 2013

At the end of my eighth grade year, I remember scanning a sea of paper stars on the cafeteria walls for my name.  Each star highlighted a graduating student and their talent.  There it was, my yellow star.  And under my name, it read "Super Writer."

I was disappointed. 

I wanted the star to say "Super Artist."  I felt that that was my true talent, not writing, which is more of a chore for me.  I have an older brother who is a gifted writer, and I've watched him sit at a typewriter and effortlessly craft a short story. 

It's funny how our self-perceptions as children shape our adult lives.  I still don't look at myself as this "super writer." Even writing a blog post can seem daunting.  But here I am, 548 posts later.

I know that many of you can relate to this feeling of inadequacy, and it keeps you from pursuing things in your life that bring joy and fulfillment.  This is particularly poignant in the arts arena.  So many creative years are lost because people feel that they are not a good enough writer, artist, dancer, or musician.

Honing one's craft involves taking risks.  And, often times, these risks are witnessed by others.  It's a vulnerable and scary part of the creative process, yet it can also be so exciting and rewarding.

This week, I took a risk with an art work.  I took a finished painting of a mountain scene and started squirting tubes of neon paint all over it.  My husband looked on in horror.

It was spontaneous, and I could have lost two days of work.  

But, now I have a painting I absolutely love and a little bit more courage to take the next risk that comes my way.

Symphony, 12 x 12 inches, mixed media on birch panel.


Sasha said...


Sasha said...

And it's just what I need to hear as I'm struggling with a few art things this week, but it's the struggle that moves us forward.

Carmen said...

Beautiful, good call.

Brittan said...

what an excellent turnout to that risk!
I love it!

big.tea said...

thanks for this, cathy. been hibernating from taking photos and participating in a year long photo project- fear and frustration and comparison. you are a super artist. <3

Megan Dunbar said...

this is so brilliant. i know that feeling too, when people say they like my work I always think 'oh, there just saying that to be nice'. Great post :)


Cathy said...

Thanks for the wonderful comments, ladies. Sasha and big.tea, I've embraced frustration and struggle as part of the creative process. It's a cloud that's never fun to go through, but the challenge makes me a better artist.

Hope you find inspiration and success with your creative projects!

Ingrid said...

bravo, I love your courage to try something new- and with beautiful results too!!

Jennifer Allison said...

though i do hate to see your delicous landscapes 'covered up'...this is brave and lovely. high five for risk taking.

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