At every juncture in my art education, I’ve had to acknowledge the role that fear played in determining my behaviors. For about 35 years I didn’t draw altogether, and if I’m really honest with myself, then I’d have to admit the ultimate reason for not drawing was that I was afraid of it: Afraid of going wrong, not being good, not being talented; afraid of other people’s judgments; afraid of not controlling what would come OUT of it, as if the pencil risked unleashing some innermost perversion that I wasn’t even aware of.
Yeah, weird. But the only thing is that most people have plenty of fears exactly like mine. And “most people” kinda includes you, dear reader! A hundred fears, big and small, lurk inside us, making us do strange things at work and at home, creating compensating mechanisms, giving us health problems.
At first I was afraid of drawing altogether. Then I was afraid of using color in my drawings. Then I was afraid of drawing anything other than human faces. The latter happened in part because when I started drawing, I had decided to offer a daily portrait to my night person, and I had somehow determined that a portrait meant “a human face.” Mental rigidity, pure and simple! To draw an animal was a sort of breakthrough, a deep "letting go." It felt both transgressive and sacred, as if I was going through some sort of rite of initiation.
I know, I know, these are just little drawing of kitty cats and puppy dogs and tweety birds. What can I say? Van Gogh was crazy, too.