An Artist's Quest for "Soul" in a Chaotic World—by InnerSpirit

This is my InnerSpirit blog page...a page of reflection...inquiry...
and artistic questions about myself, my life, and the world around me. A place for my own personal contemplation of my emotions, my actions, my art, my spiritual journey and how they all intertwine and influence each other. I hope that you check it out, think a little about your life and the many creative things that you might be engaged do those fit into your life and impact the various aspects of your own life? Let's reflect together!

Friday, October 23, 2009

An Art Challenge for 30 Days

"Whaaaaaaaaaat have I done?" I am crying aloud to myself. I signed up recently for Leah Piken Kolidas's Art Every Day Month challenge @ that starts on November 1st. I guess I am having buyers remorse, and I have not even purchased anything. Maybe it should be called "creativity remorse" in my case. I am telling myself that I am very creative and that I should not have to worry about a 30 day challenge to make art every day. If I really think about it, I do a lot of creative things every day and Leah mentions that those creative things can be defined as broadly or as narrowly as you would like; anything from making a creative dinner, finding a creative way to save money, taking a creative outing, or just producing creative art. It's all about just recognizing and honoring that creative aspect of yourself everyday. I should be able to do that right?...then why is it still scary to me?

Riding the Roulette Wheel of Fear Again

I am reminded again of my sketch from my last blog post. How often this idea of fear creeps into my life. In response to my confession to her that I was a bit afraid of this new challenge, Leah wrote, "Fear is a good thing." She suggested that this might mean that the challenge is important to me and that "I might be at my creative edge, which is exciting". I guess the truth be known, I am both afraid AND excited to begin something new.

I have listened to several people over the years tell me to just "Do It Afraid", which is a concept that others make sound far easier than it actually is to accomplish. This shortened mental affirmation appears to reflect the essence of another quote that I have visited periodically during my life. Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman of great courage and strength once said "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing that you think you cannot do." I can not say that I would consider creating art every day a "horror" in itself, but my fear always revolves around failure or not "getting it right".

Listening To My Own Inner Voice and
Taking Notes

Listening to my own small "innerspirit" soul voice...and not "The Inner Critic's" voice that is always shouting louder to be heard, is something that I have to consciously decide to do each time that I set out to do something that makes me feel "butterflies in my stomach". I need to take more stock in some of the things that have told my clients and students over the years when they have experienced these feelings. I tried to make a mental list today of what some of those encouraging words or concepts were, since usually they came to me during the moments when someone was stuck, a group was staring at me with paint brushes frozen in their hands and terror in their eyes, or when someone was complaining that they had no artistic talent and lamenting that the things that they drew or painted never were any good. Here is the mental list I came up with to reflect on as I undertake this new month long art challenge. It comes from some of my favorite quotes, concepts that were shared with me by my own mentor/teachers, and from my own general stumblings through my art and life journey.
  1. Do you know what FEAR stands for ? False Evidence Appearing Real. (I always loved that one)
  2. Everyone is artistic. We are born with the gift to create. When I give a 6 year old child a piece of paper and a brand new set of 64 crayons, you do not ever hear them say that they are not an artist or that they cannot draw. That is a learned concept. Someone, several someone's and/or society have told you that you are not artistic, it's just not true. 
  3. "Fear is the prison of the heart." Anonymous
  4. "Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared." Eddie Rickenbacker
  5. Art is subjective. The concept of what makes "good art" and who is an "artist" are society created paradigm's. 
  6. Remember the Impressionists? Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Gauguin, etc? No one would discount that they are great artists and as such, their paintings hang in world class art museums. During the Renaissance, these artist's were denied the opportunity to show their work in the prominent french "Salon" which was the most well known and elite art show of it's time in Europe. They were not only denied for many years in a row, but they were told that their works were not any good and that they would never be successful. This certainly is something to think about.
I believe wholeheartedly in Ambrose Redmoon's quote that "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear." This judgement has kept me trudging forward all these years. I am not perfect. I suppose that I am what some people would refer to as a "work in progress", but I am real. As I get older I am trying very hard to accept my own authenticity and cut myself a little slack. I have made progress and each little step along the way is helpful. At least I am "Doing It" sometimes even when I am afraid. I think that owning our fear is a huge step in our own personal growth.

Lastly, when I am really floundering and I need to make life a little lighter and let the anxiety lift,  I take a long, deep breath in and long, slow breath out and remember "A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she's in hot water." –Eleanor Roosevelt. That one always makes me smile. 

What things do you fear? How have you handled the fear or what tools/resources have you used to help you to cope with your fears? I would love to hear from you.


  1. Ooo, I know this fear all too well! And even after 6 years, I still get a little nervous before Art Every Day Month, but oh, once it begins the fear dissipates and then when it ends I feel fabulous for having done it.

    I loved reading your notes from your inner voice. brava!

  2. I have two quotes which I love and have lived for decades. The first was from a German fellow that used to have a PBS show a long time ago. Sorry I don't remember his name.
    He said "I used to go to the canvas and shake, and now the canvas shakes!"
    The second is from Julia Cameron's book the Artists Way. Which is an awesome book, like a 12 step program for creativity. Anyway the quote is "Leap the net will appear."
    Diane will you put a follow thingy on here so I can get you on my dashboard, please.
    And would barn siding and stall building count as a creative outlet? Probably the way I do it. :)

  3. Thank you both so much for visiting my blog!

    Leah, I appreciate you candidness about your own struggles with Art Every Day Month and thanks for kudo for my mental list.

    Diana, LOVE the quote from Cameron's book. I did put the follow gadget on my page for you. Let me know if this is not the right one. As far as stall building and barn siding...I would say it is all in the way you do it, after all, art IS in the eye of the beholder they say!

  4. Thanks Diane. Now I won't miss a post!

  5. Amazing how this FEAR, that cannot be touched, grasped, seen nor held can grip us so! Keep listening to that innerspirit voice Diana--it is so much more real than those cobwebby doubts or shadowy misgivings. Our he(art)s are much stronger than that inner critic. I Look forward to fighting fear right along with you this month, probably failing a few times, and in the end enjoying the process of creating art!