Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One Year Old. . . And Fear, my Arch Nemesis

"One Year Old'
10" x 10" acrylic on canvas

Here's my sweet middle child again when he was just a year old. I've been diving through older photos lately, searching for fresh material to paint and came across this one. I just can't get over those full cheeks and that awe struck expression. It brought back so many memories of when he was this age and how it felt to hold him warm and cuddly on my lap, his head resting against my shoulder and chubby arms wrapped around my neck. One of the best times of my life. :)

And this portrait was so much fun. Switching from my preferred medium to something else is one sure fire way to beat artist's block for me. Painting with acrylics is a totally different experience than painting with watercolors. It feels more therapeutic to me right now, the buttery feeling of the paint on the canvas is just awesome.


Oh, how I loathe thee.

You sneak up on me when I least expect it.

A spider cutting across the floor right after I've mopped it. You're cruel too, see?

Using all that sneakiness and cruelty, made me a little bit blind to your tricks. I'm not ashamed to admit that it took me longer this time to see you for what you really are.

You were the reason I had a nasty case of artist's block.

You were the whisper in my ear every time I sat down to paint. Telling me that I couldn't do it. That I would only fail, again.

"Why even bother?" you said. "It won't be what you expect it to be. You can't do it. You will fail."

I believed you.

Until one day, I had this thought. Who cares?

So what if I fail. Isn't that part of the game anyway? Failure is to be expected, planned for, maybe even praised. Failure has come to be my greatest teacher. Not the cool, fun teacher who lets you watch movies and turn in your homework late, but the teacher who actually helps you LEARN something.

 Failure is nothing to be afraid of Nemesis. Failure is my friend. :)

But Fear? Well, you're just an annoyance. A stumbling block. I'm done with you.

Take that!

Come back later with your super villain costume on and I just might take you seriously.

But, propably not. :)


So, my good friends, tell me, how do you beat the Fear of failure?

P.S. A quick apology to all those who've sent me emails that I haven't responded to yet. It's not because I don't love and appreciate them, and it's not that I don't plan on answering them, I do. I've just fallen behind on that and I have to ask you to forgive me and be patient with me. I'm getting there, I haven't forgotten you, I promise. And if it's been a while since I've visited your blog I'm sorry about that too, I'm working on it, promise! :) Are we still friends? Pretty please? ;););) (that's me batting my eyes at you)


  1. So beautiful, Crystal....and, I do understand the difference between the watercolor and acrylic. When I did the painting of the dog Tula after not picking up the acrylics for almost 9 months it was like a foreign object in my hands and I had to get my feet wet, so to speak, by messing around on an old canvas for a bit.
    As far as fear goes, I remain fearless as I am a spirit living the human experience, my spirit is part of God and perfect love which casts out all fear. A preacher once said, "to fear is to forget God." Immediately upon waking each day, and in every situation I face, I pray, "Lord, help me to remember, nothing is going to happen to me today that You and I together cannot handle." That is how I live in this world without fear. God bless you and yours.

  2. Crystal, you are so amazing, and talented, everything you do is enough, you are always so inspiring to me, with your art and your words....no fears...

  3. I so enjoyed this post! And I love the colours in that cute little face! It's lovely to use new meduims from time to time isn't it? My most recent is also an acrylic and I love painting with it.
    Next on my list of to do's is oils. I want to know what they are like to paint with and I'm excited to try them out some time soon.
    My son is now 14 years old and is 5ft 8 inches tall - I'm now smaller than him and yet he still thinks nothing of wandering in to the lounge and plonking himself on mine or my husbands lap! I have to hide the fact that my eyes are popping out of my head and make the most of my dead legs while I still can, lol :0D

  4. Wonderful post as always. I love to read everything you write. It makes me hope too. :) Love you Sis!

  5. Too good.. I think I can never get tired of your baby portraits ever..

  6. Beautiful palette Crystal, there's no medium you can't handle, is it?

    Fear? nothing but the best motivator, if you don't let it stop you it'll only make you grow :)

  7. Crystal, I loved your post. I think we all have those fears and negative thoughts.

    That was a good idea to switch to acrylics--it got you out of your negative place because you could say "so what?" if it doesn't come out perfect. This is gorgeous, though. Glad you are enjoying painting again.

  8. Lovely portrait, Crystal.... thanks, too, for your nice comment on my post ! your portraits are spectacular !!

  9. Ah when the world was young. Perfect portrait! :-)

  10. I hate failing, but I've learned to allow myself to fail. Funny, I've had to give myself this mentality to create MORE so that "statistically" some of those works will be successfull. The more I make, the more good paintings I'll have. Wierd I know, but it keeps me from shutting down! LOL!

  11. a wonderful painting and so good to see you coming back. fear is quite the stinker. it can only hurt us if we believe it can. push on, you are truly gifted!

  12. In a workshop I attended many years ago, artist and teacher Doug Walton, to make a point, threw the watercolor paper he was working on, onto the floor and stomped and walked on it. Then picked it and wiped off the dirt and continued painting. The takeaway that day was never to fear the empty surface or a 'failed' painting because it was 'only paper' :) Over the years, 'it is only paper' has been my mantra! and I had to learn to enjoy the process and not worry about the end product.

    Love the expression you have painted :)

  13. Love the beautiful portrait. His skin looks so soft and sweet. I can almost smell the baby lotion. I would never have thought you had a problem with fear, Crystal. You do things so beautifully. I've had many issues with fear throughout my life. I guess the best way to defeat it is just to ignore it and do what you need to do. Have a great weekend!

  14. Lovely portrait.
    How to beat fear? Don't acknowledge it. The only important thing is you pick up the brush, paint and learn. Then its all good :) xx

  15. When you said, "take that" it made me think of the judo chop from a few posts back. :)

    Nice acrylic, Crystal! Have a lovely weekend.

  16. Another stunning portrait, and in acrylic, you are one brave woman!!! Acrylic can be a scary medium for me, the really fast dry time throws me. Wonderful job! And can you really measure success unless you have had some failures?


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

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