At every juncture in my art education, I’ve had to acknowledge the role that fear played in determining my behaviors. For about 35 years I didn’t draw altogether, and if I’m really honest with myself, then I’d have to admit the ultimate reason for not drawing was that I was afraid of it: Afraid of going wrong, not being good, not being talented; afraid of other people’s judgments; afraid of not controlling what would come OUT of it, as if the pencil risked unleashing some innermost perversion that I wasn’t even aware of.
Yeah, weird. But the only thing is that most people have plenty of fears exactly like mine. And “most people” kinda includes you, dear reader! A hundred fears, big and small, lurk inside us, making us do strange things at work and at home, creating compensating mechanisms, giving us health problems.
It’s good to acknowledge these fears and overcome them, as much as possible.
At first I was afraid of drawing altogether. Then I was afraid of using color in my drawings. Then I was afraid of drawing anything other than human faces. The latter happened in part because when I started drawing, I had decided to offer a daily portrait to my night person, and I had somehow determined that a portrait meant “a human face.” Mental rigidity, pure and simple! To draw an animal was a sort of breakthrough, a deep "letting go." It felt both transgressive and sacred, as if I was going through some sort of rite of initiation.
I know, I know, these are just little drawing of kitty cats and puppy dogs and tweety birds. What can I say? Van Gogh was crazy, too.