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The Artist's Corner: Go paint your picture

People are afraid to express themselves in a plethora of ways. People often have a fear of even expressing their fears. Naturally. Fear is an uncomfortable sensation, which is often accompanied by a barrage of even more uncomfortable thoughts. Fear is everywhere. It is inherent to human DNA. It's not going away anytime soon.

On the other hand, today I am hoping to alleviate at least some of our fears when it comes to creative self-expression. Because guess what? No one needs fear when it comes to creativity. I'm not implying fear doesn't have a useful quality (sometimes), but we certainly don't need it when it comes to art.

For example: I have a fear that I will not get this column written and turned in to the editor on time. However, I have absolutely no fear at all when it comes to actually writing the thing. This in itself is an important distinction: fear comes in handy sometimes. It can motivate a person to meet deadlines! But fear doesn't come in handy when it comes to the creating part. And the creating part, as we all know, is where the magic is.

So. Are you afraid to pick up a pen and write? Afraid to take up the brush and paint a picture? If yes, then why? Is it because you're afraid your work will be no good? Because you're afraid you're not original enough? Because you're afraid you have no talent?

All these fears are natural when it comes to the realm of creative expression. Here's the good news: They can be transcended and we can move forward with our art despite them. If an artist is driving the car, fear always takes a backseat, no matter how many times it may scream, "Shotgun! I call Shotgun!"

Nope. Put it in the backseat. You're in charge now. You can create whatever you want. One of the beautiful aspects about art is that it is democratic. Art belongs to all of us. It does not belong to the rich and powerful, to high-nosed academics, nor to fear. Like water, like roads, like public libraries, like thought itself, art belongs to all of us.

Let's approach our art as if we are nothing more than naïve children. Have you ever seen a 5-year-old afraid to draw a picture, write a story or a sing a song? The answer is no, of course not!

Children have an ability to express themselves creatively, and to have fun while doing it. They don't worry about whether or not it will be any good, or original, or if they lack talent. They just make art, and that's all there is to it.

So drop your perfectionism in the backseat along with its ugly cousin, fear, and get to scribbling.

Don't take yourself so seriously! Goof around. Have a good time. Express yourself as honestly as you can. See what happens. Fear may try to convince you that you've got something to lose.

Do you know the good news? You don't. So go paint your picture. Write your story. Sing your song.

For more insights on fear and creative self-expression, I highly recommend reading, "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's a book which my girlfriend, Tessandra, introduced me to, and I have been a fan ever since.

In other news, let's keep in mind some of the interesting art events that are coming up soon:

• The Half-Moon Rising Songwriter Showcase will be presenting three talented singer-songwriters performing their art! This will be taking place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27 at Ziggy's Restaurant in Stillwater, Minn. Don't miss out!

• The Steve Mireau Exhibit is at 5 p.m. March 9 and at 11 a.m. March 10 at the Chapel Theater of Star Prairie. His work is phenomenal, as is he. "This is a one man show of art of music. Come meet the man and learn the story behind his art."

I will now end with our creative quotation for the week, this one from author, Joseph Chilton Pearce, "Play is the royal road to childhood happiness and adult brilliance."

May we never forget it. I've had a good time playing around with this week's column! Thank you for reading.