This weekend I sat down to work on a couple of portrait commissions for a friend and felt the uncertainty of whether I would live up to hers and my expectations. In that moment before pencil touched the paper, it didn't matter that I have been sketching since I was a young girl, gently being guided by my mothers' experienced hand, encouraged to explore my creativity, and then drawing with abandon each time we sat together. In that moment, it didn't matter that I have been studying and practicing art for the 40-odd years since then. All that my mind focused on in those seconds before I began this commission was the self doubt as to whether I could do it.
Do you encounter that? Do you experience self doubt before beginning projects you are creating for others?
You are not alone dear one.
For me this happens whenever I am commissioned to paint a piece, but it can also happen when I sit down to art in my own art journal. Thankfully it doesn't happen all the time, but it does happen, and thankfully the time spent in this trepidation stage is getting shorter.
Well, there are a couple of rituals or routines I have when I sit down to create. Lighting a candle, burning some incense, putting on my Spotify playlist of Painting Meditation music helps calm my nerves and soothes my soul. Sketching, doodling in my everyday sketchbook or inexpensive sheet of paper loosens the fingers and releases tension. Whether I am in my studio or not these are adaptable for each setting I am in.
This weekend, after another deep breath, I reminded myself that I can do this, that the person who commissioned me already likes my style and my work, otherwise they wouldn't have commissioned me. After a glance at my ample supply of paper I realised that it is only paper and I can easily begin again should it go pear shaped.
In the end, I believed in myself and took the leap. As you can see I still have many layers to go so stay tuned for the finished work.
What do you do to work with and through this initial trepidation and fear? Do you have rituals or routines you perform to calm your nerves? Share them with me. It will only expand on our mutual creativity toolkit and help support each other.
Would you like to read in more detail about my rituals and routines? I'm thinking of sending out a pdf to my subscribers on this topic. Let me know if this interests you and I'll out one together.