Do you have potential paintings or sculptures in your mind that are so real you can close your eyes and touch the surface of the canvas, or walk entirely around the piece, exploring it’s every detail? Do you have a short story or a novel in your mind that’s so real you can see yourself turning the pages? Is something stopping you from actually creating it, so other people can see it, too?
I’ve started thinking about what my next sculpture should be, now that my book project is starting to wind down. And whenever I start thinking about what I should do next, three “old friends” keep trying to get my attention. These are the three sculptures that I’ve been living with, (only in my mind, of course), for at least 5 years.
Is there such a thing as artistic phobia? Sculpture anxiety? A fear of drawing? Do you have ideas that you fully intend to pursue, but you never seem to feel the time is right?
I thought it might be fun to talk about this issue, because you, too, might have a great masterpiece in your mind that’s trying to get out. If so, maybe we could offer each other some support. I admit that I have a mild superstition that prevents me from talking about the three sculptures that I would love to do, someday. I think it was Earnest Hemingway that started my superstition when he said a writer should never tell a story until he has it down on paper. So I don’t want to describe the works that I haven’t yet created, but I would like to talk about the possible reasons why that they haven’t been created yet.
Obviously, there may be practical reasons why we hesitate to tackle a project. This is particularly true if we know we need technical skill that we haven’t yet acquired. Skills take time to develop, and it would be disappointing to see our potential masterpiece created by an amateur. That has certainly been an issue for me, since I’ve only been sculpting full-time for about 14 months. Perhaps we need to take more classes, or read more books, or just get more hands-on experience before we tackle “the big one.”
But is there something else that stops us, too? A fear of failing? The possibility of discovering that we just don’t have what it takes? Do we blame our job, or our family obligations, or our health, when there’s really something else stopping us?
There are other circumstances that might be holding us back. For instance, you may live in a small house or apartment that simply doesn’t have room to create something as large as you imagine it. The materials might be too expensive. You might need a private space that can be locked, to keep out children who could be harmed by the art materials, and you simply don’t have that space. You might need private time, so your mind will be free to think up new possibilities, work on new solutions — and you simply can’t find the time. You may have a “real” job that leaves you creatively exhausted at the end of the day.
These are real obstacles — but can they be overcome?
I’ve decided to challenge myself in the next few months: I will consider every objection that keeps me from starting at least one of those sculptures, and then find a way to work around those objections. I will commit myself to learning the skills I need, no matter how long it will take. When I think up inventive reasons to procrastinate (and I know I will) I’ll try to ignore them. I will look the fear of failure in the face, and work through it. The sculptures will not be museum-quality when they’re done — they may not even be good enough to show anyone — and that’s got to be OK.
I’ll commit myself to creating those sculptures because it will open up the possibility for new ideas, for the next great challenges.
The first thing I’ll do is ask for some help from some friends who might be willing to pose for me. Once I’m over that hurdle, (asking for help goes against my nature), I’ll see what happens next.
Would you like to join me in the challenge? Is there a short story, or a painting, or a novel, or a sculpture that’s been haunting you for years? What do youÂ need to do first, so you can actually get started?Â Let’s talk about it…