What are you most scared of?

 Here’s the thing – whatever it is, that’s what you must do.

I learned this lesson over the last year as I worked on my art.

 At first I told myself that I worked in black and white because that was my style, my thing, my unique selling proposition.

In truth, I was working in black and white because I was scared of colour.

 I don’t know anything about it, you see. There are artists who spend months, years even, cataloguing colours, working out all the possible combinations, painting detailed, wonderful charts of every colour scheme imaginable. I am not one of those people. I have neither the interest nor the patience.

 In the past, I had found it difficult to translate the colours of real life onto paper. That green in the hedgerow is made of more greens than I can imagine and they are all more beautiful than any green I could create on a palette. It just seemed so daunting.

But then, as tends to happen in life, I started to get hints about a possible solution. I found the wonderful work of Richard Snowdon and Felix Scheinberger, where colour is used to express emotion rather than to represent reality.  I came across an online art class and signed up and as a result, was exposed to all kinds of new and creative ideas. And I started to examine my own life for clues. 

All that led me to one conclusion: what we’re scared of is usually what we need to pursue with all our hearts, guns blazing, sirens blaring.

 So I started splashing colour around. My once neat and tidy art studio is now a complete mess, walls daubed in paint, desk and seat stained with colour,  air filled with dust from my pastel crayons.

 And hallelujah!

 It turns out that my crazy, uneducated, unintentional, messy colour combinations work more often than they don’t. I pick up a paintbrush then a coloured pencil and then a pen and then a pastel crayon and somehow it all comes together and makes sense … just as long as I don’t think about it too much.

If you’re an artist, or want to be, trust me. Do what most scares you, and you’ll amaze yourself. 

Which makes me wonder … does this apply to more than art?   


  1. Carol
    September 24, 2014

    Thank you for this. You’ve given this ol’ girl something to think about. Seriously. P.S. I love, love, love your cows!!

  2. Anna
    September 24, 2014

    I too, love your work. I can identify with your fear of color however, and the words "color theory" do nothing for me but turn me off. I too have worked much in black pen and ink, and having recently discovered Sketchbook Skool, am at last spreading my wings, and it feels good flying. I have a long way to go to reach your heights however. My daughter and husband raise highland cattle and one day I’ll paint one of those beauties. Thanks for sharing your fears.

  3. Evie
    September 25, 2014

    I have been sketching for a couple years after reading Danny Gregory’s book. This post describes my hopes for SBS kourse "Seeing" which starts in October. I hope to go beyond the limits I place on myself. Yes, art can apply to the res of life…

  4. Arlene McGinness
    October 28, 2014

    I would love to buy postcards of both of these, they are amazing! Just bought two from your shop as they make me smile 🙂


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