“Unfearing” the fears

For years and years I was burdened by the fact that I didn’t go to an art school. To be honest –  I wasn’t allowed to. My parents were very strict about that and I was told they won’t support poor artist. Period! I know now that they meant good (though I needed years to remodel this). We lived in comunist regime where artists were not exactly »productive« memebers of sociality and they knew some almost starving talented souls …

  • Though I am secretly proud that I managed to sit and paint still life I also think that painting objects in front of you is a little bit boring …

I always had a feeling that I can not be an artist without formal education. I felt such a fear that everyone will see my lack of knowledge that I literally avoid every contact with paint and paintbrushes … In early student days I finally collect enough courage and took an art class. We painted still lifes and for the final task we had to reproduce a picture of our favorite painter. Nowadays my favorite Klimt picture still hang proudly on our living rooms wall, because it reminded me, that I could be very percisely if I really want 🙂  But in general this class left me a little bit disapointed and unfullfilled. I learned that painting can be really uncreative and that rules are almost mathematical exat. Plus we have an instructor who really hated painting flowers. She used every single opportunity to tell me painting flowers is just a worthless kitch … And bang –  that was it! I belived that. I carried those words with me for so, so long …

  • Klimt is my beloved artist I am always glad to meet him in Vienna. But this painting convinced me that art could be very exact an precise. And I am not a meticulous person.

And then (more than a decade later) two things happened. I bought Kim’s Parker book Home (she is also an artist and surface designer without formal education) and I was hited and felt so address with the words former art professor of Parsons School od Design said to her when he asked her where she went to school and she told him she wasn’t painter. He said: »Good thing, you never studied art formally – they would have tried to destroy that!« I can not describe what those words did to me. It was like major chains were fell off me …

  • Painting realistic flowers is great. But I don’t think that is suitable for me. I like to see what is taking shape instinctly.

The second thing was that I finally overcame the  feeling of not being talented enough and I called art teacher I found on web and said: »Please teach me to paint flowers and plants.« Though I have to admit painting flowers and plants could be as boring as painting still lifes. This lead me to start to paint spontaneitly uneven patterns. Sometimes I knew exactly on wich object could they appear, sometimes it was just obsession with a colour …

Now I am slowly, slowly finding my path. I am really impatient with myself some days. But I am also entusiastic and grateful that I am overcoming fears one by one. Cheers to me 😉

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  1. Diana January 10, 2011 at 17:07 #

    Oh Petra, I had the same German parent philosophy and worked as a secretary for many years. What a wonderful post showing your life’s path. Keep listening to what makes you feel complete and you will get there. Don’t try to rush. It’s all about the journey and what we learn and take with us along the way…so, enjoy the ride.

  2. wini February 11, 2011 at 00:56 #

    Dear Petra, Thank you for sharing your story and for being so honest! My parents also wouldn’t let me attend art college after I finished high school. But I went back to college and studied art as an older student. I can relate to your fears! I was very nervous when I started and used to be scared of a blank canvas! Did you know that Van Gogh didn’t attend art school & Dali never finished art school and look how famous they are!! Art school is not the be all and end all. Its just one path to choose if you feel it will suit you. If you have the passion you will go far!! I think you’re doing really well so keep going!!! I also love Klimt and adore Kim Parker’s work!! She is my inspiration for this week’s GYPO assignment. Wini xo

    • petra February 11, 2011 at 09:36 #

      thanks wini,for this very very nice comment. I love GYPO 🙂 it’s actually first painting course where i am not bored to death. and i love this international energy … can’t wait to see yours KP 😉

  3. Elizabeth February 18, 2011 at 02:56 #

    Hey Petra, I can’t express well enough how much impact this post has on me. I am so related to all that you wrote. I am taking a formal painting class for the first time and I am learning a lot, but I still don’t like to paint something I have in front of me. In my last class the teacher wanted a still life and It was so boring. I am trying to figure out what can I do to finish it in a more “ME” way! You can see the simplicity in my tiles, that is what I want in my paintings..simple and whimsical…Maybe that is why I am selling my collage paintings…no formality at all! Just Creativity and Passion! I know I already told you..but I love your art!!! Now I know why! Love to you and your beautiful family..baby Sophia is doing great…so beautiful!

  4. beba June 2, 2011 at 14:55 #

    Joj, kak navdihujoč post! Moram delit na facebooku (:

    Mir in ljubezen!

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