Quote Creativity Coach Vanessa Turner

Beginning – The Hardest Step

Throughout the painting process one of the hardest parts for me is the beginning. This is the time when you sit there with a blank sheet of paper/surface thinking of the steps required to transform it into the beautiful work of art that you envision.

And in those thoughts, you recall all of the stages that will be involved, the challenges that each stage brings, your weaknesses, your strengths…what could go wrong… and every other synopsis possible in an effort to foresee the failures of your future.

The Fear Of Failure

For quite some time, the fear in beginning a new piece was paralyzing… but the source of that fear was very clear… it was a fear of failure. And you know what I would often do? I’d look at the paper, think about what I wanted to drawn and then put the paper back in its package and say “maybe another day”… Other days I’d start but barely give myself sufficient time to see it through to even the initial stages… It has taken a little while to break that habit.

Beginning Stage of charcoal portrait drawing
The Beginning Stages of 'LEGEND'
LEGEND, 2018 © Vanessa Turner
Stephen McCraine Quote Creativity Coach Vanessa Turner

Have Faith in the Process

To some extent, remaining confident enough to ‘start’, is still a work in progress. I often remind myself “have faith in the process“. Do you have this same approach at times when it comes to starting new things? You’re not alone. In fact it seems quite common whether you are an artist, a writer, an entrepreneur looking to start a new business venture etc.

No matter what you do or where you go, there’s a point at which you’re just getting started. Think of the high school graduate. The new employee. The marathon runner. Sometimes, that beginning stage is exciting. Other times, daunting. Many times, it’s both. And so it is with painting. Whether you’re a new student of art or an established practitioner, every time you start a new painting, you are—in a sense—a “beginner,” determining how and where to put down that first mark. – In The Beginning” by Anne Hevener

But we can have 99 successes and 1 failure yet, somehow, we tend to internalize the bad experience…Ultimately, we are like waves pounding the beach. We just keep at it, knowing that we are doing what we were put on earth to do and always trying to advance down the endless road of learning and becoming better artists and people… – Thoughts on Rejection by Richard Christian Nelson

Every Master Was Once A Beginner

When you fear failure, which I should add is often “a shadow of one’s own making”, we set ourselves up for disappointment before we even try. So while you’re on this journey called life, try to focus more on the opportunities each challenge brings, the opportunity for growth. Most times they afford us with new information and experiences to apply going forward. Whatever your goal or challenge, be encouraged! Nothing worth having comes easy. It may take some courage to start, but you won’t regret it. EVERYONE starts somewhere, and remember, every master was once a beginner.

Take a couple minutes to listen to the below speech – How Failure Leads to Success by Denzel Washington. I’ve listened to it a few times and each time I take away more from it.



  • Reply

    A good read all of us artists can relate to – well said!

  • Reply

    Hey Nessa,

    I have been meaning to read your post and I’m so glad that I finally did. How beautiful to think of each new work of art as a lesson on beginning again. It’s so true that we all find ourselves as beginners at some point and now I have a new found respect for artist who face the vast openness of “starting” with each fresh canvas. Thank you for sharing.

    Joi | https://joi-knows-how.com

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