For artists, fear makes us hold on to beautiful fabrics and papers that are too pretty to cut. It makes us afraid to go further with a design or painting for fear of ruining it. It stops us from using the really good watercolor paper. Fear makes many of us work small, keeps us from making large bold strokes on giant canvases.
When I saw Gwen Lafluer's stencil called "Not Afraid" the words called to me. In my life, fear kept me from trying and doing many things. For a long time, panic disorder controlled me--an unseen force, a petrifying, reasonless fear ran through me and ran my life. It nearly kept me from a career as an artist. As an adult, I am constantly pushing myself through fear and making myself move forward.
I tried using Gwen's stencil several ways. I knew they were powerful words, yet the pieces and journal pages didn't do the words justice.
|This piece has a background collage of vintage sewing items, and reflects my interest in fashion design--a path I was afraid to try. The purple stenciled floral shapes represent overcoming fear, and my resulting career as a fabric designer.|
|A journal test page with the Afraid to Try stencil and the Scribble X mask.|
|An unfinished journal page, testing the Art Deco Peacock Feather and sections of the Afraid to Try stencil.|
|This is a collage of random papers, handwritten thoughts (on the underlying page) about overcoming my claustrophobia and fear during a recent MRI.|
|This was the finished abstract painting that eventually became the background for "Afraid to Try."|
|Dried paint was peeled off my craft mat and placed on a gessoed cardboard using matte medium.|
|These patches of dried acrylic paint became the background.|
I love the combination of bright colors with black and white patterns known as Zetti, so I pulled out some gingham fabric and black and white papers. I also considered some black and white painted lutradur that I had made a few years ago.
|The brightly colored sari scrap corners matched, but the black and white painted lutradur sides overpowered the center design.|
|Some gold paper Dresden Medallions were tested in the corners.|
|I removed the Dresden stars and tried colored sari silk and a gingham diamond, but still didn't love the border.|
I decided finally to keep it simple, and cut some thin paper strips of a black and white diamond pattern, then glued it around the edges. That worked--the delicate diamonds didn't overpower the central image...the thin border finished the piece without fighting it.