Have you ever had one of those moments where someone tells you something that you immediately become defensive about and you later you realize how perfect it was? I had one of those moments recently and I'm so glad I listened in the end. It's neat how exactly what you need to hear at certain moments is communicated through surrounding landscapes, family, friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers.
The last five years I have painted only with acrylic paint. In college, I adored oil paint and steered clear of acrylic at all cost. I'm not sure when the flip occurred or what scared me away from oils but I haven't considered using oil paints in quite some time. I almost forgot it was even an option. Dustin suggested that I try oil paints a month or so back. I immediately became defensive. What did he know about painting after all? Did he not think my paintings were good enough in acrylic? I didn't even ask for his opinion anyways. In moments like these when I let my overly sensitive-self take control, it is best I quiet my mind before making a mess of things. When I stopped and listened, however, I realized Dustin was right. There was a reason he was telling me this information even if he didn't know why himself.
I mustered up the energy and brought out the old oil paints, turpenoid, and linseed oil. With a new blank canvas I began to work. Boy am I glad I listened. Oil paints are fantastic! I felt like I was experiencing painting for the first time again. The blending of paint was effortless and magical. I loved the way I could work slowly without the fear of the paint drying too quickly. The colors were vibrant and alive. I couldn't believe how difficult I had been making things for myself the last five years.
Acrylics definitely have their place, and I respect mediums and artist of all kinds, but I was terrified to do what I knew I should be doing. I was scared that what I am meant to do might not be good enough. It was more comfortable to say in a box. I forgot about that place where time doesn't exist and it is just the paint speaking through me. This painting, Floating Souls, has a special place in my heart because it is the first oil painting I have completed in years.
Recently Dustin and I have been discussing The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. I want to leave you with this quote from this book since it pertains to many of the thoughts above. I would love to hear about your experiences. What are you resisting that you know you should be doing? What are you afraid of? There is a reason these fears dwell in your heart - you are good enough.
"Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it."
-Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles