Wednesday, December 7, 2011


It's been quiet here... I'm well aware...
November was a busy month, with 3 family birthdays, including Squirt's and mine. And I actually celebrated my birthday for the first time in years, which made it a bit of a stressful event! And of course, after that, Sinterklaas came to visit on the 5th of December, which took some careful plotting and planning (not to mention shopping and wrapping!) as well.

There's a couple of weeks left till Christmas, so the next while should be quiet. I'm totally ready for some relative quiet. I feel like I've been running around like a headless chicken for longer than I care to remember, and I'm not entirely sure where I left my head! But I'll find it - I always do :)

I have been anticipating creativity for the sake of being creative. Out of my birthday money (thank you SO much, friends!!) I've ordered some amazing books on how to live the artist's life, and some on inspiration, and I've been breathing & browsing them over the past week, wishing there was time to dive in. I've been telling myself time will magically reappear after the first week of December.

But the crazy thing is, time has never truly been away... There's been less time, perhaps, but I could have gotten a few brush strokes down, every single day - if I'd really wanted to. The honest truth of the matter is, I've been afraid. I mentioned it before, and it's still with me. I have no idea where it's coming from. Or maybe I do. Part of it is, that I want to do so much that I don't know where to start. Part of it is in having seen too much intimidatingly amazing work from other artists lately. Paralysingly so. I've been feeling so inspired, that it's turned into a block. Or something. I can't put my finger on it...

What I did know yesterday, was that I had to put something down onto paper. I just had to. I was beginning to feel like a fraud, having all these books on living an artist's life lying around, not actually feeling like much of an artist... So I picked up a ballpoint pen and started drawing from a photo I took of Monday's lunch. Straight to pen, drawn & coloured in 30 minutes. And part of the whole facing the fear, doing it anyway (one of the books that's waiting for me ;)) - I knew I had to post it here.

The fear has been telling me that I can't draw or paint. I can try, but it won't come out looking like it was meant to do. I'm not writing this because I'm fishing for compliments, but because that's what is on my mind. But I don't think this drawing came out bad at all :) Especially not for someone who's been telling herself she sucks, consistently, for weeks!

It all comes down to breathing. Pushing through, and doing it anyway. And I just did. I so need to ignore my inner mean dude more and just do!

What's holding you back from jumping in? How do you deal with irrational fears? I'd love to hear!


  1. Not bad at all? It' beautiful! In just 30 minutes, too. That's not trying, that's talent and using it.
    So. I think you need to block some time and dive into those inspiring and motivating books. What a good idea to ask for money instead of presents and buying these books! Good for you.
    And: stop telling yourself you suck because that's just nonsense. Somehow you seem to sabotage your time or yourself. Maybe you can try to find out why you're doin this.
    I think you can shut up that inner mean dude of yours!
    In times when I'm less inspired or insecure or anything, I make a deal with myself to just make at least one drawing every day. It doesn't matter how it comes out, but drawing will stay 'in my fingers' . When i have bad thoughts, I write the down. Just start writing what you feel and think, and keep on writing. Yo migh actually surprise yourself by writing thoughts, wishes, insecurities etc you weren't aware of. It can really help.

  2. Sorry about my typing errors, I was using an Ipad and it didn't quite work with me...

  3. Now, I know you said you're not fishing for compliments - but you're going to get one anyway!lol. That painting is beautiful, clear bright colour, great line work, it has elegance - I could easily see it as an editorial illustration. It also has a style which I can recognise as yours. I really envy anyone who has that naturally.

    Good for you for getting those books. The fact that you asked for them means you really want to come out of that self-doubting shell. I think it helps to remember that everyone has doubts - there's nothing wrong with it - it can even be useful sometimes and can nudge us in the right direction.

    That inner mean dude will disappear if you keep creating and putting it out there for others to see. I'm a firm believer that the more you do something the easier it becomes - it becomes familiar and that qualifies it.

    When I first started my face painting business 4 years ago I would be up all night worrying about the crowds of people watching me paint. Honestly I would be so nervous that I couldn't eat beforehand and would literally shake with fear. But I just kept doing it, and now, because it is familiar, I'm not at all frightened any more. So I think just doing a little everyday will make a big difference to how you value your art. The doubt will ebb away - creating is time well spent - you're art is beautiful!

    I think you would benefit from allowing yourself to play and experiment without having a preconception of what the final piece "should look like". - it would allow you a lot more freedom and stop you being so hard on yourself. I after, I always think, if it goes wrong I can just bin it and start again and no-ones needs to know :-) just do it, don't allow yourself to be scared - you've no need to be ......Dance like no-one's watching!!

  4. It’s a wonderful painting! You don’t suck in the least! LOL It’s hard not to listen to that nasty inner critic but you pushed past him and proved him wrong! Keep going!

  5. Yvonne,
    Thanks thanks thanks for your lovely comments. I'm a little uninspired concerning drawing lately. It's not a matter of fear, I think it's just that I feel a little exhausted whenever I get the little time to draw. I just hope inspiration and energy come back soon!
    Anyway, the sketch looks great, and the sandwich, YUMMm! Avocado, tomatoe, mayonnaise, hummm!
    Big big hug from here!

  6. Oh Yvonne, you so write of my heart. I am feeling the same fear I don´t really know where it comes from. I want to so much that I don´t know where to start and end up doing nothing at all, being mentally blocked. I feel the same that I could do some brushstrokes every day but I don´t. It´s just not enough, I get frustrated because I want to do so much better. Seeing other artists works (other? why other? I am not an artist...) makes me both feel happy and inspired but also frustrated and envious. I also have a lot of books, I love them, but I feel my whole life is so far away from this.
    Anyway what you did here with your lunch in half an hour is just phantastic! Very very well done girl!! Thank you much for sending me your good vibes! (-;

  7. I'm just catching up on all the blogs I subscribe to, and came across yours today. It's so nice to read honest words like this about creating. When you're an artist, I think people think painting or drawing or whatever is easy. I don't think they can grasp how we LABOR over every single stroke! I'm so glad you pushed through, and look what you gave birth to! Keep the good juju flowing...

  8. Yvonne I love your picture of your lunch! It really is GOOD! I totally understand your hesitations and doubts, I think they are part of exploring the unrestricted, creative space inside of ourselves. I have been just 'doing' lately and it is throwing up all sorts of new ideas and paths for me to follow.

    thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to comment on my watercolours of the Lake Gininnderra hillside (very tiny hill, more molehill really). I agree with you, the first picture is the best, the second one suffers from trying to do too much, but that is what I need to learn.
    I have really struggled with my 'vision map', which was the last task in Creative Courage, mainly because I don't really want to 'go' anywhere, I want to 'be' an artist and that is what I want to be reminded of on a daily basis. Your honest words and thoughts resonate with me, and like you I adore Birkenstocks! So there, we are practically kindred spirits :-)
    By the way, I love pen and wash. There is something about it's likeness to the drawing and colouring in I did as a child which hugely appeals, but it is very 'artistic' too.

    Keep up the good work :-)

  9. Well first off I want to wish you a happy belated birthday! 38 is a great age. I was 38 when my daughter was 3 also. I am now 45 and i still go through anxiety and doubt myself....though i must admit I have learned to silence the inner mean dude a lot faster :) and when he talks, i just dont give him the time of day and anyway, i choose not to believe him! The one thing i have really really tried to focus on, is not comparing myself . This is a tough one because i want to see-have to see what else is out there. I mean to learn to reach to grow to network to market to build friendships with others who are like minded-for all of these reasons, i continually am in a position to see not only others art but also others successes....when i first started in all of this it was difficult and i would often find myself comparing -but not in a good way. I found i would wish i was as good as so and so, or wonder why i was not at a place where they were at. I found it was making me feel horrible. Bad about myself about my art and bad because i could not truly be happy for another person when i was busy feeling so envious. I am not sure how i stopped doing that. But i did. I remember on a couple of occasions just having a good conversation with myself and realizing that those sort of thoughts and self doubts would not take me where i want to go. I remember thinking that being truly happy for someone elses beautiful art or success would feel so much better and that whatever they had or whatever they were doing, there was still room for me too do or have. And then one day i just stopped comparing myself...or at least now if i do, it is only to raise the bar for myself! I am much happier and able to be more authentic, i think, in my art! Oh i did not mean to make this all about me....only to tell you we all go through having these nagging voices that are free with the fear and uncertainty but stingy with the compliments and encouragement! Yvonne, your work and your words are really fresh. I see in you and your art a voice that is strong and clear. When that inner mean dude comes a calling, tell him to go find someone who cares , you have got drawing to do. :) xokp

  10. I went through a rough spot the other day. I was having really dark thoughts about my art. It's amazing how much judgement there is; the whole art thing can bring up a lot of inner critics. But at the end of the day, there's the thought "It's just too much fun not to do!" And that thought is like the star of Bethlehem, rising high in the dark sky. It's a fun, irreverent thought that seems to cancel everything else out for me.

    I think, like you, I just picked up a ballpoint pen and started doing it. That's the easiest way through it. It puts a sock in the mouth of all the inner critics. And then you forget all those nasty thoughts. Because it really, really isn't about what you produce. I find that once I start doing it: drawing or painting or whatever, it quickly becomes something's sort of hard to describe. The doing becomes like a billion times more important than the end result.

  11. Yvonne,
    You left the most beautiful comment on my website the other day:) May I do the same for you? Because sometimes I think maybe we just need to hear from the other side of the world....figuratively and literally:) I am going to be 41 in January and it took me until I was 40 years old to trust my art, to trust the hand that was guiding me to open my heart and untie all the ideas and hopes I kept bundled up inside of it. The thing about fear for me now is to stay ahead of it....if I can do the thing it is trying to keep me from doing before it convinces me stay ahead of it... I highly highly recommend a book called The War of Art. Essentially, the more fear you feel, the closer you are getting to the thing you were made to pursue, lean in and are close:) I have to also say that for me, my fear was attached greatly to shame. Somewhere deep inside, I didn't feel I deserved to feel good. I didn't deserve to be seen or that the things inside of me were too ugly....this of course, was and is a lie. Call it what it is. It's a lie. You are beautiful and your work is beautiful.....create from this place and your art will be the very thing that scares the fear away...because love always wins...xxoo

  12. All i do is... i take you in my arms! What we all need from time to time is a big fat Mother Hug and lots of...hmmmm, i know, i know ..and I Trust in you and GANBATTE! ( japanese for : GO for it!)
    P.S: Luis birthday was a success and he was very rewarding afterwards... give love and you will get love! MERRY CHristmas! :-)


Thanks for letting me in on your thoughts!