My Art and Creativity Crippled by Fear and Doubt

For many years I did not paint – I was afraid that it would not turn out the way I wanted, it would not be good enough, that I would make a mistake. So why even start. Looking at a blank white canvas was intimidating and it was easier just not to start. I often purchased new brushes and paints because I wanted and intended to paint however I was just crippled with fear with all the “What if's” going on in my head and could not bring myself to start. Then I would eventually pack up my art supplies and relegate them to the garage.

The cost of quality canvases and paints is very high and because of all my fears it was even more of a hindrance to start creating because if I messed up or I did not like the outcome it would be such a waste of money!!

I am thrilled to say that this is no longer the case. What changed? It was a combination of letting go of the end result and many realizations such as I could change any canvas as many times as I wanted (in fact many excellent abstracts have 5 or 6 abstracts underneath them!). That often my best work comes from so called “mistakes”! That I could just play, experiment, explore and enjoy myself and if it becomes a struggle or I start “trying”, then it is time to stop painting or change it. I also learned some useful techniques and tips like covering the white canvas as quickly as possible with a color to claim it as mine!!! To be able to Gesso over anything you want and that you do not have to have any rules. Say Yes to everything and make art how YOU want to – no one else's rules speaking to you in your head. Experiment, enjoy and just PLAY, PLAY, PLAY!

I wanted to show you how easy it is to completely change a canvas. So a few days ago I painted the canvas above. It is quite unlike anything I have done before – I was experimenting. Bottom line I did not like the finished result. My husband loved it and encouraged me to post it on my Facebook page – I deleted it from my page within a couple of hours because I did not like it and only like to post my best work. I feel if I do not love my canvas how can I expect anyone else to.

Rising - Landscape View by Vanessa Katz © 2013
Rising - Portrait View by Vanessa Katz © 2013

So here is the changed canvas which I now love and guess what if I had not liked that I would have changed it again! It all adds more depth and texture! You can allow the colors or areas you like from the original canvas peak through your new creation or paint over it and then use a tool to scratch out lines so the original can show through. You can achieve no end of effects and techniques and end up with some exciting surprises! I have shown it both landscape and portrait view so you can see the difference and the collector can decide which way they wish to hang it.

Another canvas that I was not quite happy with is below and how I changed it. I am sure some people seeing this might say they preferred the original canvases! The point is that you, the artist and creator, have to be happy with your work and you are in charge. Of course the original canvases no longer exist!



Intrinsic by Vanessa Katz © 2013

So there are no mistakes, if you do not like something, change it. Work with the highest quality of materials – it shows and will make your art better.

Be brave and fearless, create with abandon – some pieces will work and some will not. Not every piece will turn out a masterpiece however you can keep working any piece until it is a masterpiece!

Let me know about your creative process – What do you struggle with? What struggles have you overcome and how? What do you look for if you collect works of art? What are your views on the above? Look forward to hearing from you.


4 thoughts on “My Art and Creativity Crippled by Fear and Doubt”

  1. A kindred spirit! I have experienced thoughts like you have had. I am now 74 and I don’t give a rat’s ass now what other people think about my work. I paint for myself now. I am an abstract painter and happy to be one. I like my art being different.

    The best thing I ever did was to take a workshop with Bob Burridge (I think you might have also.) Gesso made all the difference for me. If you don’t like something you’re done, gesso over and begin again. Love it! I’m following your site and love your work. How nice that you have a supportive husband.

    1. Carol, that is fabulous, yes painting for yourself is the only way to go – pure self expression.
      You are so right – I did take a workshop with Bob and I will forever be grateful to him as it totally changed my life. His workshop facilitated my freedom. Wow how lucky are we! Having a supportive loving husband is totally yummy and I am living my dream.

      Thank you so much for sharing and your kind words – it is so wonderful that you commented because you write a blog and often you have no idea if anyone is reading it or not – yes you have some stats but that really does not let you know if you are connecting with anyone!

      Do you show any of your work anywhere? Online? Keep painting with abandon and thank you for following and commenting ♥

  2. I have just stumbled upon your website and I am completely in love with your work! I also create abstracts and have struggled with focusing on the outcome rather than the process. I am finally able to say in total honesty that I don’t care what anyone thinks of my work. It’s not for them, anyway, it is for me. Thank you for your art and your inspiration.

    1. Kimberly, good for you, I love that you are now in that place. I agree you have to paint for yourself and to express your heart and then some are going to love your work and some are not. Always be true to yourself. Thank you so much for your kind words and I must get my act together and post more often on here. I have been a little lax to say the least as I have been concentrating on my Facebook page which is where most of the action happens these days. So please come visit me on my FB page which can be found at
      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting and keep painting and loving your work. If you love it, others will too!!

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