January 22, 2014

Queen of the castle

In 2005, my husband and I traveled to Jordan, a land full of history and so many exciting sights. We were on our way back to Amman from the Dead Sea when we stopped at an ancient Crusaders Castle, Kerak Castle. It was amazing. I took a tour of the Castle with a very kind Arab man. As we worked our way through the Castle, the big finale was to have this picture taken, me sitting on the high wall of the Castle.

What you don’t see in this picture is my terror, my incredible fear. I sit down, I can hear the traffic moving below, I can hardly breathe, the blood is pounding in my ears, I’m feeling dizzy. I am terrified that I am going to fall from the wall into the traffic. Then, my body moves to paralysis. I have no clue how I am going to move away from this wall. You can see my hands almost attempting to hang on to the wall. This all happens in the time it take to snap a photo. The kind tour guide finishes taking the picture and puts his hand out to help me up. I am certain I could not have gotten up from that wall unassisted.

It was then that I realized I had a fear of heights, a fear of falling, particularly into traffic. It was one of the most fearful moments of my life.

The most common time I feel fear is around creating art. Of course, it is not as frightening as the fear of falling into traffic!

I spent much of last week sitting, paralyzed by the fear of starting, fear of making a mistake, the fear of failing. This talk carried on to snowball into questioning if I really wanted to be an artist, and, well, I’m sure any of you who have experienced “creative” fear know where this continued to lead. Finally, I knew I had to start. I knew that if I continued to sit, the paralysis would just simply become permanent.

And so, I began.

Paint mix

I am using Daler Rowney Arylic Artist Ink. I like using this paint because it offers a few options on fabric. If the fabric is wet, it will run and pool and give you interesting patterns. It does work well dry if you have specific areas to paint, however it does take a lot of ink to get a deep color.

Once I started, it felt better. Once I was in full paint mode, my mind started to explore other possibilities. And instead of saying, “I can’t”, I began to question “what if?”


I finally got the painting finished and it was forward on to the quilting, my favorite part! Because I like to stitch in specific areas, I start and stop in those spaces, and spend quite a bit of time burying the thread ends by hand, into the piece. It is labor intensive, but I am so much happier with the results!

The piece is almost finished and will go off to the framer today. I have to keep moving forward!

I would love to hear how you overcome your creative fears.

Organized under Acrylic Inks, Fear, Travel.

4 comments... (add a comment)

  1. Jeanette

    Hi Amie!
    First I want to tell you how much I ADORE this piece! The painting is one thing but the stitching just adds this whole other delicious dimension to it! It is so intricate and luxurious! Maybe even a better word is regal! Anyway, I have a thing for artists who use stitching in their pieces!
    The fear thing is such a common thing amongst creatives isn’t it! What I try and do is get out of “myself” when I start to feel stuck. I have this belief that what I create is a gift coming through me rather than from me. If I can stay somewhat detached from the piece it helps to take the pressure off of me! I have nothing to worry about if the creation actually isn’t mine, in a sense. But every time I paint, it is a process if getting in and out of my own way. Your style is so unique and wonderful! It is such a gift! And I love that you are brave and keep moving through the fear! The world is a better place for it!
    So much love to you!
    Jeanette xo

  2. Overcoming creative fears … the first step is to recognise them? I love to start new things, and my fear is that they won’t be finished, because I might “have” to start another new thing at any time. But if these starts are considered as explorations, rather than projects, that fear isn’t there any more. There’s no longer a need to finish, if it’s an exploration – it’s finished at any point.
    We can talk ourselves around all sorts of problems, once we know what the problem is!

    • amie

      You are absolutely correct, Margaret, recognition is the first step. I find that I often don’t even realize that I am feeling the fear, until I find myself doing those tasks that I hate, like cleaning the oven. I do these things to avoid the projects I am working on. Once I recognize that fear is why I am procrastinating, I am able to pull myself back to my project. Thanks so much for your comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *