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  • Ingrid Donaldson

Discussions from the Teeter Totter:::OR:::Notes from an Artist's Playground: Step One---Fear

First, let’s just make peace with the theory that everyone has two sides of the brain, the left (logic) and the right (creative). I always seem to get them mixed up and think the right side is the logic side because well, it’s always right…makes sense, no? lol.


Most folks are geared to one side or the other. But artists, well…they need to use both, OR the whole brain. Actually…I think everyone should use their whole brain…but we would have a much different world, then wouldn’t we? Think about it….hahahahaha.


Ah…em (clears throat). Back to it.


Let’s talk in terms of art and career. Art being right side/creative and career being left side/logic. Ooof…this could be tough…it’s scary just looking at it this way…I’m afraid just thinking about it…lol.


You can create, make, play: whatever you want to call it…but if you don’t use the logic side too and learn to promote, sell, and network…then you might have to wait to be famous until after you’re dead. Sad to say. Then someone (friend or family) has to find all the amazing things you made while you were alive and get it out to the world after you’re dead.---This is an unfair burden on those that remain behind, so get over yourself and do your own work while you’re here. No one likes a slacker…lol


Sorry…tangent….


Why do we struggle: FEAR---Probably the most common reason for me. The fear of creating, fear of selling, fear of learning something new, fear of meeting new people, fear of “Oh my gosh…I might not be good at it.”. Really? Shocking.


Know this: We don’t paint the “Sistine Chapel” or carve a “David” on our first day as an artist. You must give yourself time to be a beginner and plenty of time to practice. With that being said: There are “those” artists that are naturally gifted and who know all of the right people and say all of the right things…but we’re not going to talk about you…because you’re an anomaly and you skew our curve…lol.


Sorry…back to what we were talking about…….


It’s the “left” side of the brain where the fear rears its ugly head. It’s that alter ego (logic) on the other side of the teeter totter, and he can be one scary dude/dudette. For me, it is the irrational fear of being, doing, creating, learning, etc. (not all on the same day, thankfully…lol) …Feel free to insert your own personal fear demon here_______________________.


So, turn “the fear” into a game on the teeter totter and let’s give him/her a name.

My alto ego’s name is “Larry” …

…sometimes I call him “Daryll” when he’s being particularly stupid or the “other brother Daryll” when he can’t find his way out of a paper bag. (Bob Newhart reference) …come on now…we all have these kinds of days, don’t we? Embrace them and get a giggle out of it, you’re playing. Remember?


So now that fear has a name, he/she is much less intimidating and we can start to interact, grow and learn on the teeter totter together. As you move forward with your art, self, career…or for gosh sakes all 3 (I wouldn’t do all three at the same time…you might explode or even worse…implode (not a pretty sight for sure).


Ask yourselves these questions:


What is the worst that can happen? Is it going to kill me? Am I going to die from it?


Well, most times the answer is NO. There is that rare occasion where you could potentially die…but, come on, let’s be real…it’s rare…so just put on a helmet and some body armor…and go for it. Be fearless. PLAY with Larry. The worst that can happen (death) probably isn’t going to happen.


*Note*...You will have moments of failure where you might “break that imaginary arm” or “get a few bruises” from falling off the teeter totter. These are mostly due to Larry being a dweeb and letting Daryll have the controls…but this is how you learn. There are many lessons and many broken arms but put them in your tool kit and use them as “Here’s what not to do” lessons. It’s still learning and learning is important.


You are not going to die from being an artist. You are not going to die from learning something new. You are not going to die from creating. See? There is no fear now…there is only Larry and well…sometimes Daryll…and he/she can be managed and played with.

Final thoughts: …slow but sure wins the race…baby steps…put one foot in front of the other………...

And some days…you just have to file and sand (metalsmithing reference) …. a harmless grunt task that gives your brain a break from Larry, Daryll and his other bother Daryll and puts them in the “time-out” chair.

Peace to you my fellow artists. May your Larry’s and Daryll’s be more of a playmate than a fear.

Me, back in the day...and check out those kickin' pants!! Ooo La La!!!!...Cause that's how I roll





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