A little over a year ago I had a conversation with my now ex-boyfriend. I think he had walked in the room without me hearing him, and seeing him startled me. To this reaction, he made me a very enlightened comment: "You are creating out of fear."
I looked at him in puzzlement for a while before I agreed. Yes, it seems, I create in a state of fear. Then he went on saying: "Look at what you have produced until now, and imagine what your art will be when you no longer create with your fear."
He said just that. At that point in our existence, that afternoon, this person understood more about my mind than I did myself. And he was never an artist. He is a brilliantly intuitive person who had the greatest impact in my life and whom I admire still.
At the time I couldn't see any other way to create. I have been blind for so long... I was lost in a set of mind which dictated that art should be made with endless hard work and pain. I don't recall exactly how this shift happened to me but it constricted me enormously and slowly made me a slave of my process. This was going on around in 2010. After I had painted frenetically over 500 pieces of art between 2007 and 2009, my productivity dropped dramatically. Each painting was so painstakingly long to produce that I had to select and choose carefully what I would paint. A horrible feeling since my imagination always spilled over my own head. I couldn't spend the exhausting amount of energy in anything I wanted.
I looked at work in a similar way that made any obstacle my doom. A very bad attitude for me and for others.
Slowly, things changed.
The past three years were very emotionally challening for me. I had to grow as a person and simultaneously my art grew with me, although I couldn't make much art those years.
Early this year I ended the relationship we were in and dedicated myself to my art only. It was not a painless choice, but I don't regret it. It took me months, but I could finally reconnect with my creativity and my passion for art, which had been transformed. And through a few more challenges it bloomed into something that seems new and old to me. All of a sudden, there are no longer obstacles, only challenges to play with. I'm having fun when I create. I want to draw things I've never drawn before. I have streamlined my process and at the same time it is new and fresh to me. It is faster than it's ever been, to keep my interest. It's more accurate then before, I understand better, I make better decisions. It's exilherating and I jump from one project to the next with eagerness, like I used to when I first picked up a tablet. I feel no pain. Except for those other wounds whom everyone who's loved share with me and everyone who's lost someone share with me. But to these my art is not responsible.
My art is my light again.
If on your art journey you are ever finding yourself trapped... If it's too difficult, too big, too much... Remember art-making does not have to be painful. It does not have to be driven by fear. It is hard work, yes, but you are not obliged to fear the work. Approach your obstacles playfully if you can, and make your effort painless. If you are playing while you're creating, you are learning. You are growing. You are getting better.
Strip the fear out of your art. Make yourself powerful.
You create because you love.