Today I was reminded of the wisdom of Yoda, "Fear is the path of the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." I loved Yoda when I was a young girl. Watched 'Star Wars' over, and over, and over again with my brother. Drank from my Yoda cup, snuggled with my Yoda stuffie, and even had a Yoda figurine peeking out of a plant pot that I kept with me until I grew up, moved out and was married...and which scared my niece to pieces when she was a toddler ("Mouse!" she cried).
I digress...the quote was my focus. Early on in my career as an artist I received great success...and it frightened me. I stopped trusting myself and began listening to much well-meaning but misplaced guidance. I began to panic and follow instruction from those who I believed knew better and was, of course, generally unhappy. And this all finally resulted in my removing my art from galleries and moving to a farmhouse in the country, far away from here. Thankfully I didn't give up on painting though I did change my media and subject matter, giving myself the time in the country to bloom once again.
For several years I stopped exhibiting publicly, especially in gallery spaces. I began slowly once again, in public facilities...libraries, hospitals, cafes. Places that felt 'safe'. Places where it seemed there were no expectations other than that I do what I love to do. And I began to overcome that fear. In the past few years I've had nothing but wonderful experiences in galleries, along with other, perhaps unconventional venues. I slowly learned that opportunities will present themselves again, when I'm ready for them. I've also learned that just because there are opportunities, they might not be the right ones for me...or maybe just not right for now.
I've learned that this life of an artist means many different things...it is in how I can contribute to my community in this capacity, how I am inspired to create the work I do, and how it merges into my daily life as a wife and mother. For me this has to blend seamlessly....overlapping in a good way.
I don't think fear is necessarily a bad thing, it's just good to remember to listen to that still, small voice inside. Do you really want to do this? Then, just do it.