Now What? : 5 Tips For Dealing With Anxiety In The Fine Arts

Do you have the urge to create, but you don’t know were to begin?
Are nagging fears and insecurities holding you back from creating your best work?

Many artists at some point in their lives experience what is commonly referred to as performance anxiety. This is a period when our negative thoughts and feelings try to engage us in a long drawn out battle for supremacy. If we let them win, they deprive us of a satisfying career and a lifetime of creative discovery. Sometimes we do not always know the specific reasons why we avoid approaching certain subjects or mediums, but what is at the core of all artistic performance anxiety is fear. We fear failure. We fear not meeting our own expectations. We fear how others may view our work. This generally results in avoidance tactics, procrastination, and unfinished work.

Whether you’re an enthusiastic beginner or a seasoned professional, these tips will help you to overcome your fear of creativity:

1. Read Magazines That Specifically Target Your Chosen Medium: Perhaps by studying the work of other artists, you can eventually find alternative solutions to the problems that frustrate you and keep you from finishing your work.

2. Create Additional Work in A Medium That Is Familiar: For example, if you are struggling with expressing yourself in sculpture, but you are great in photography, then produce a photo essay. The temporary move to working in a medium in which you are proficient will help to offset the anxiety you feel about the medium you are learning to work with.

3. Perform Another Task Unrelated To Art: When you feel like pulling your hair out over some compositional problem, try performing another task you have on your to-do list. Take out the garbage, wash clothes, garden, etc. This helps to give you a sense of accomplishment and temporarily takes you away from work problems that are stealing your peace.

4. Ask A Friend,Colleague, or Mentor For Help: If you have a good friend or know a colleague or mentor that has a lot of knowledge about the medium that is adding to you anxiety, maybe they can offer helpful advice and suggestions.

5. Spend Time With Family: Time away from the source of frustration can help you to approach the subject from a fresh perspective while allowing you to calm down and problem-solve.

It’s important that you enjoy creating art; a decent plan for working through your anxiety will help you to increase your motivation and productivity.

If know of any other tips that have helped you overcome anxiety, please share. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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5 thoughts on “Now What? : 5 Tips For Dealing With Anxiety In The Fine Arts

  1. Last spring, I became convinced I could no longer produce art of any value. Total anxiety. So I gave myself permission to play, just plyy with my art with no expectations around it. This turned out wonderful. It helped me regain my playfulness in my art, and I think has improved it. Most important, I’m having more fun.

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    1. Great suggestion! This way the pressure is greatly reduced! I think many people freeze when they try to overanalyze their work. Playing helps you to let go of your fears and discover what is new, what you love about creating art.

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  2. You are so interesting! I do not suppose I have read anything like that before. So good to discover another person with a few genuine thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

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  3. Its such as you learn my mind! You seem to grasp so much about this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something. I feel that you could do with a few p.c. to drive the message house a bit, however instead of that, that is magnificent blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

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