Fear, Resistance, Distractions, Oh NO!


This is reblogged from my art website at http://www.sfago.com

Sharon Abbott-Furze www.sfago.com

Sharon Abbott-Furze
http://www.sfago.com

I know about resistance…exercise for starters.  For health reasons, me, who avoided walking like the plague, was told it was the best exercise for my medical situation so I plunged into it.  I like purposeful exercise – a game of racquetball, golf, rowing a boat… but walking was what worked so…since I am also determined, I put my earphones on, clicked on one of my  audiobooks and started walking.  My life and health were at stake.  In no time at all, I overcame resistance and now, a couple of years later, I really  look forward to a long walk – an hour or so – and miss it when I don’t manage my time. I never would have believed it.  Resistance was powerful for the first couple of weeks tho.

Apply this discipline to my art – to finishing a painting.  I have seven that are in various stages of “getting there”, most about an hour from completion and have been waiting patiently for almost 2 years.   They need final little touches, one or two minor things that bother me.  I set them aside and go on to a new one.  It’s a definite pattern of mine – and a big old struggle.

I needed to travel earlier this week and was on the road for about 6 hours each way.  I really enjoy the time to myself, and part of that enjoyment is listening to my favorite audiobooks.  On this trip, I decided on “War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I haven’t listened to it in several months – and I need it right now.  I’d recommend it to anyone – you don’t need to be an artist.  Resistance rears it’s ugly head in many parts of my life and in many forms.  Maybe yours too?

As I listened to it – on the way “there” and again on the way home, I heard things I hadn’t heard when I had listened to it a few months earlier.  About fear.  About not knowing what to do so not doing anything at all.  About all of the distractions caused by “resistance”.  The message hit home.   I’ve spent days, months and years avoiding my art on the premise that I didn’t know where to start, what to do next, or just plain felt blocked.   Distractions?  Yes, I have experience in that department as well!  I can spend hours reading blogs about art, being “inspired” by other artists on Facebook, and yes, even writing my blog, among many other things.  I’ve told myself many times that I didn’t have a long enough block of time to bother getting started… that I had cleaning to do…someone would call and invite me to go shopping, get a pedicure…blah blah blah…you know the story.

I am a professional artist.  I love painting.  It’s good for my soul.  It’s my prayer, my relaxation, my expression of love.  It’s what I need to do. I would definitely do it no matter what.  If I were the last person on earth…yes…I’d still be painting.  I can’t help myself.  If I don’t paint on my canvas, I’m painting in my mind.  I get in bed and can’t quit painting so many times have gotten back up to paint for just a half hour more.  Right.  Dawn arrives and I had no idea where the time went.

Progress.  Something clicked as I was listening to “War of Art”.  Somewhere inside, I “got it”.  I stepped to a new level of pushing through.   No matter how I “feel”, I say a prayer – 0ut loud, as Steven Pressfield does – step up to my easel, pick up my brush and it happens. I’m painting.   It really is that simple.  Not easy, but simple.  Woo Hoo.  So far so good!  I’ll try to remember this action and if I forget, I hope I remember to read this blog…

Thank you, Steven Pressfield for overcoming your resistance to finishing your book!

I’m doin the grateful dance….

My Art – An Insight


I painted all day yesterday, final touchups on a couple of paintings and then sketching ideas for new paintings.  Don’t know why I’m thinking about new ones when I have so many to finish…

 I’m trying to get myself back to enjoying painting instead of anticipating a buyer or show.  That takes away from the joy of just painting for the sake of creating for me.  While I’m actually painting, I’m  in total bliss.  But before and after?  Not so much.  Not like it was before I started selling.  Sometime ago I figured out that pressure that I put on myself – insecurity about my paintings – needing others to like my paintings – sellable? gallery-able?  was a big part of the reason that I stopped painting for so many years.

Some of my paintings were used in Portland Street of Dreams in the 80’s which precipitated a pretty unexpected success in selling my art and hundreds of prints.  I had been selling regularly at a hospital where I worked but the Street of Dreams experience raised pressure to paint to a whole new level.  Ultimately, it became such a drain that I quit painting.  For 20 some years!  I dabbled once in a rare while but don’t think I ever finished a painting during those years.  I do know that I got side tracked with my sales years ago – felt stuck in doing the kind of art that sold in the same way as always so that it would sell.  After the initial excitement of being in such demand lost it’s glow and became pressure, I felt trapped and bored – in a way.

I realized this morning that I’m still in that mind set – insecurity and pressure.  I have myself so confused and pressured about what I want to paint to add to a collection for a gallery – children series, southwest series, seascapes, landscapes…. I’m like a fart in a frying pan!!!

 A couple of years ago I started painting again.  A little.  About a year ago, I started painting more and now I’m obsessed with it again.  But I find I’m struggling with me.  I want to have a distinctive style – whatever it turns out to be.  Some others say they see it but I don’t.  Right now when I look at my different sets of paintings, they look like they’re done by different artists – my children series is one style, southwest another, seascapes are different yet and way  more realistic than I like although I really get high on some aspects of realism in all my paintings, especially seascapes.

If I’m truly painting from in my artistic “center” will I see my style as consistent?   No matter what I paint?   I don’t know.   And then again, maybe I just need to accept that right now I enjoy doing different styles and have different series to express those styles.  I need to explore that.  Acceptance?

I do know that this artist thing is kind of a torment for me.  Pressure – to paint, to sell, to hang, to be part of, is my art good enough?  For pity sake –  Am I good enough?   Do I want to be alone today and paint?  My internal battle begins.  Most days it takes a lot of self-discipline to get started.  Once I do, I’m glad.    It clears my mind – no stress.  It’s my meditation and prayer time.  Fortunately I’m more a loner than not  – so art suits me.  But I find myself feeling very separated from life and feel like I’m coming up gasping for air.  I need family, a friend, laughter, fun.  I have an intensely deep need to for both.

Today I’m going to paint for the fun of it and to express my creativity and consciously put all of “those” pressures out of my mind.  I am going to practice not caring what anyone thinks about my art.  It’s mine and if I like it, that’s all that matters.  It’s my baby and I’m gonna love it.  If it turns out to be something, then great.  If it doesn’t, it was my expression for the moment. I had fun doing it.  If not, I can always paint over…

Hmmm.  Am I really that brave?

Of course I am!

It gives me joy and freedom just thinking about it!

Happy New Year – 2012!


Peaceful Place - Original and prints available at sharonabbottfinearts.com

I want to stand on the highest mountain – well figuratively, of course – and shout “Happy New Year” to all mankind, to the universe!

I’m feeling so grateful and in a state of anticipation and excitement for this new year, 2012.

This morning, I had a mad desire to express my feelings in a poem, and made multiple attempts but it’s just not happening  So I’ve been reading poetry blogs and am in awe of these poets – some amazing gifts out there!  You poetry contributes so much to my world.   Thank you!

I’ve been enjoying blogs that share paintings, photography and graphics this morning.  And choosing not to be intimidated by the talent, but inspired.  Wow!  That’s a whole lot of inspiration…

Music rocks my world.  It makes a difference.  I constantly have music playing.  Sometimes just in my head.  But it plays.  And brings me joy!

The blogs!  The myriad of subjects, writing styles, humor, insight.  The list is long – the gifts endless!  Blogs broaden my world.   My life has been changed in so many ways.  By blogs!

Art – in any form – is good for my soul.   I’m so grateful for life…for expression…for diversity…

I haven’t made resolutions for years but today am renewing my commitments to myself… and am writing them for days when I need a little reminder…

  • I am practicing my art, my gift, every day.  I make no expectation of the result.  I’m practicing.
  • I am present.  I am listening.  I am seeing – really seeing.
  • I am in service.  My open sign is on.  I’m showing up – and I’m there when I’m needed.  In the best way possible.

What will this year hold?  I can’t wait for the adventure…

My Intention – A Written Affirmation


I visualize my intended outcome.  What is it?  Material – abundance? Spiritual? Higher understanding?  Inspiration?  Imagination? My process includes all of these.

I know if I live and move with my intention, it is inevitable.   The outcome will come together – as I encounter circumstances and situations.

I have been given a passion for art and my intention is to paint something that will benefit others.  Right now I’m working on a painting of a soldier embracing his wife/girlfriend, husband/boyfriend.  It is meant to represent all soldiers – male and female.  leaving or returning.  If it turns out the way I’m hoping, I’ll donate proceeds to help military families in some way.  My dream is that it will help soldiers and their families monetarily.  My hope is that it will sell many prints.  But if it sells even one, I know that money will help someone.  My intention is that it will make a difference in someone’s life.

My intention creates my reality and orchestrates fulfillment of my dream.   This is my dream.

My intention is in my heart and I’m listening with my soul.  I’m living and moving with this intention.   Things will come together in just the right way, at just the right time.   Situations, circumstances will work together to accomplish my dream.

I’m so excited!

Oprah’s Lifeclass
Purpose, Intentions

Today I start painting – Every Day!


What am I doing with my life?  I have a wonderful life but I’m not living my fullest life!  I can’t use the excuse of not knowing my purpose – I know clearly.

I have a deep need, in fact a passion to “create”.  A good part of my life I feel that I haven’t expressed myself – in many ways – that have been true to myself.   I haven’t listened to, and accepted myself.  I am constantly painting in my head, but have a difficult time getting myself to my easel.  This has been going on for years – literally years!  It’s a very real struggle for me.

Painting is one of my greatest joys and also a big old pain to me.  I have so many ideas in my head.  Why do I not just Do It!??!  I’m not sure.  I want to do a painting that makes a difference in the world but how will I ever accomplish that if I don’t paint it!!!

I don’t feel inspired.  I feel that I want to paint in a different style than what I’ve been doing, have it in my head but start feeling lost before I get it on the canvas.  A lot of times – many times – I am so excited about painting a particular idea that I can hardly wait to get started.  Sometimes I get started, sometimes not – but my motivation and inspiration fizzles quickly.  Sometimes I have an overwhelming rebellious response, sometimes anger, to my need to paint.  I don’t understand it at all.  I’ve journalled about it,  ignored it, painted thru it, and prayed…..

I’ve had reasonable success with my art – it was used for several years in Portland Street of Dreams homes, had my own shop that went quite well, I’ve sold many paintings – people seem to enjoy some of my work.   I am exhilerated while I’m painting and when I see the finished painting, I’m very let down and critical – painfully critical to the point that I get angry at myself for not translating what I have in my head.  I know that means practice, experimenting, enjoying my journey.  I know all of this in my head.

I’m beginning to think that maybe creating in my head is fulfilling in itself.  But I also know that if I were to lose my sight or hands that I’d really regret not having painted my ideas.

Bottom line…I feel that I’m wasting a gift that I’ve been given.

I need to get over myself!  Arrrrgggghh.

Is this that old “accepting myself” thing again……

I’ve developed a good walking habit – for my physical health.  It’s working well.   Today I  begin a “creating” habit for my soul.

Today I will stand in front of my canvas with brush in hand and just paint.