Fears and Doubts and Dreams and Encouragement

April 13th, 2007

Started this last night and finished it tonight. It's about 10"x12", mixed media on watercolor paper. I'm calling it "Catching Stars."

I had a lot of fun playing. The crow appeared accidentally. Sometimes, if we let it, art will lead us down its own road. Little synchronicities and happy accidents are all around if we are open to seeing them.

I got an email from a fellow blogger yesterday that mentioned the mean comment a teacher had said to her that put a real damper on her creativity. Oh, that makes me so mad! I have encountered those teachers myself and there was a big gap after I left art school where I made no art. Authority figures can have such a negative effect on creative souls, who tend to be on the more sensitive side. What I wrote back was that authority figures are just people with their own issues and very often, teachers are just frustrated people whose comments are more about them than you. And then there are those wonderful teachers who were our biggest supporters. Just before I got the previously mentioned email, just minutes before, I had found a scrap of paper on my studio floor from one of those teachers. I don't know how it got to this spot on my floor (other than the fact that I'm a slob), but I think I was meant to find it then. It was a little note my junior high art teacher had attached to my final project. It read, "Leah, Thank You! Your quiet presence is always felt, as is your kindness. May your talent take you far - risk it! This was a special class! -Mrs. J." On the piece of paper she wrote this, was the following poem:

Anonymous on

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To express feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place ideas and dreams before a crowd
is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken
because the greatest
Hazard in life is to risk nothing.

I had a good day, got some good work done on the website. I had to take a step back and re-do some of the design, but it's coming along. I think the main page is good to go. And with the long weekend ahead, the fiansor has promised to help with the coding. Ascender sent me a great link with tutorials about css style sheets, an awesome resource and networking community called Wise-Women, that I've bookmarked. I'm excited to share my new site with you. Here's a sneak peak at my future art website. :-) Ok, it's just a coming soon thing, but it's a place holder for what's to come.

Some interesting linkage I've been noting over the last couple days:

Someone mentioned a newsletter called The Painter's Keys (forgive me, I can't remember where I read about it) and so I signed up. I got the first one in my email box today and it had a link about a previous newsletter (and reader responses) about "creative insomnia." It was timely considering  I've had a week of very poor sleep with one night where I had so many ideas running quickly through my head that I had to get up and write them down. I liked the author's methods of calming a busy mind involving a cup of cocoa. Hehe. He also talked about how an active imagination can lead to blowing our fears out of proportion...much like we can take the unkind comments of an authority figure and blow them up into a wall that keeps us from creating.

And then I read this great post about those very fears that keep us up and what the reality of them often is at Luann Udell's blog. What a great story. It made me laugh and made me think. How often are our fears just our imagination gone wild...like the monsters under our beds at night.

This afternoon, I came upon this great post at True Nature about creative disappointment and how to conquer those fears and doubts.

As I'm typing this, the t.v. is on in the background with a commercial for some sleep medication. Ha. I prefer the cocoa method. The fiansor couldn't sleep last night and he's in that weird over-tired state. Good thing we've got a long weekend ahead! I'm off to snuggle. Happy weekend to you!

21 Responses

I’ve been seeing random crows lately. Not whole flocks of them…just one…or two…showing up in my path. But what really jumped out at me about your painting was the 3. Did you know that in numerology that’s the number for creativity? My ‘life path’ (birthdate) is a 3. I’ve known that for decades (if one puts any stock in ol’ Pythagorus and his theories) but it took me until I was in my 40’s to realize why and how that made sense for me…and why most everything I’d done up until then had felt so ill-suited to me…except for a few things…and why I was drawn to those. This post reminded me that the C*A*R*E package my mother sent home with me this last trip contained a tin of Belgian-style hot chocolate mix. I’ve just made some…and now I’m going to go read about ‘creative insomnia.’ ;) I love “Catching Stars.”

I read that same thing about risk somewhere yesterday morning, but I can’t remember where. The word “risk” keeps coming up for me. I know it is meaningful. I will have to think more about it.

I LOVE your picture of the women catching starts! How beautiful and inspiring!

Your teacher really captured you…”your quiet presence, as is your kindness” I love how subtle you are Leah.

I hope you have a snuggly weekend!


and Great job on the website. Figuring out computer stuff is work, but necessary!

That slip of paper ending up on your floor was synchronicity as well, so that you could help the blogger that you later encountered. Isn’t it amazing how these things work? It is so inspiring.

Also inspiring is that beautiful piece you completed. I love that. Amazing work! :)


Zazazu :)

I love your art and feel inspired by it often. I also love your musings and links because they are so helpful and interesting…especially liked the part about creative insommnia. It’s so true!

Also wanted you to know,this morning on Poetry Thursday, they had a post for Guerilla Warfare, leaving poetry in various places for people to find…the first thing I thought of was what if we put our poetry on art and hid it in places? Would someone take it home? Would it enhance their world?..then I noticed that Marilyn, one of our Finding Water friends had mentioned a previous post you had about found art…what a small world of creative thinkers. It was fun because your name keeps popping up everywhere…a whisper heard around the world.

I love this one too, so beautiful. And I can’t wait for your art gallery website because then we’ll be able to buy your work right? Really lovely – this would look beautiful next to the orange art from the other day. Perhaps a series of 3???

Leah- Not only do I adore the new piece, I’m also so glad you wrote the post along with it. It’s more timely for me than you’ll ever know. I signed up for Painterly Keys. It looks like a great community. And I am so greatful that you shared the poem. I’ve been depressed lately concerning my own artistic abilities, so your post and the poem and the links- all of it has been like a yummy cup of hot cocoa on a cold day. Thank you!

Leah – what a gorgeous picture – I love it!

And I’m very impressed by what turned up on your floor too – all the more reason for not being too tidy – would spoil such benefits.

Risk…. when in the late 80s I did 6 months of Zazen (Zen sitting) with a group I was always seeing myself on the precipice unable to let go and fly… someone then suggested I actually imagine it differently and I realised it could be a tiny drop just a few inches or so that had got out of proportion…


Awwww… I love the poem she gave you… Authority figures can TOTALLY change the direction of a life! I wish more would use their powers for good instead of evil!!!!

Hello Leah-
First of all thank you for your comments on my ‘baby’ post. What you said meant a lot.
I had a huge gap of time in which I didn’t make music after I left music school. All the critics were ringing in my ears and I felt like everything had to be just so. It was so overwhelming that I never felt up to it. Then I started missing it and I came back to playing for the sake of literally playing-having fun with music, expressing myselff, and putting something beautiful into the world. It is ashame that there are critics who stifle this and that we must work so hard to find ourselves again.

All the best

The Star Catcher looks so sweet and hopeful. :) Thanks for all the cool links.

hello beautiful talented girl! I’m crawling out of my hole for a bit this morning to visit some of my fave bloggers. I’m glad I came today, as I LOVE the painting. Hubby and I have been feeding our crows in the back field…(away from our little birds)…but I tell you, we’ve had more fun watching them. They wait for us now….too funny they are!

OK…in highschool, we had a nice art teacher, but she did not pay very much attention to me. I was always into drawing models with outfits, or making stencils for a home decor project. I was NOT the kid sketching deep, dark faces with mean eyes…I was usually painting fabric to make a pillow out of. She paid attention to those types of kids, and just kind of let me be.

I DID however have a WONDERFUL theatre arts teacher, who wore wild scarfs and a different pair of BIG glasses everyday. She had lived in NYC, and called all of us her “Darlings”. She passed away years ago. She was friends with my Aunt who produced the local community theatre….which I was a part of….so she adored me. SO…I think she fed my creativity, while the other kind of ignored it. it balanced out.

and I babble on…..

This post actually reminds me of a HORRIBLE chorus teacher we had. SHE totally played favorites, and totally made the rest of us feel like dog poo. I was a cheerleader my freshman year. There was about 5 of us who cheered and was in chorus. We had to wear our uniforms to school the day of a game. She used to scream at the chorus (there was about 50 of us) to “STOP SOUNDING LIKE A BUNCH OF WHINEY SCREAMING CHEERLEADERS!” while we’d sit there in our uniforms. She was an old bag. If I had kids, and I found out a teacher was doing something like this….we’d be nose to nose, and I guarantee I’d win. It’s just so WRONG! I’m still irritated thinking about it now!

thanks for letting me step back in time. xoxox ~Jes

The colors in this one are very nice. Her orange dress against that blue night sky is absolutely beautiful. :-)

Hi Lovely Leah.

I’ve nominated you for the Thinking Blogger Award, check it out! See my list on my FW Diary blog.

Hugs, E

Leah, I love this art. Trees are one of my favorite subjects and the background on this piece is fab!

It’s a shame teachers seem to fall into one of two categories, brilliant mentor or shamelessly mean. I think we’ve all had both. i think the goal is to learn from each if we can. I loved Mr. Johnson, my middleschool art teacher who was so encouraging, I loathed my middleschool chorus teacher who flat out told me I couldn’t sing. She has never heard me while I’m in the shower, I’m quite good. ;}

Painters Keys has some truly thought provoking articles, glad you found them.

…gotta go check your site now.

Leah, I loved this post – just now reading on Monday morning. Each link and each element offered so much encouragement. An your painting is lovely – for some odd reason my favorite part is the bucket. I guess because she seems prepared.


The hopeful subject with a bucket … wonderful and wonderous! I love this, but then again, I love ALL of your work! I am all about HOPE right now, so thank you for being right on time with your post.

Maginificent poem from your former teacher … teachers have the power to build up like few others can.

love this post and “Catching Stars”

you always take me down an interesting path


xox – eb.

Hello Leah, what a treat! Thank you for visiting me. I’m excited to have found you. I feel inspired to talk about my own creativity based on your post…

oh leah, this is wonderful…you have certainly captured a mood for sure! you’re good, girl! and how I love the poem, awesome!


Beautiful painting, Leah – and your banner on your new site is lovely!

Thanks for sharing the inspiring poem, and all the great links. Your cocoa method of handling insomnia sounds much more fun than medication. Hope you’re able to get some good rest soon! xo

Post a Comment