Blog Archive

The Role of Vulnerability in Creativity

Posted August 28, 2014 By Amy Fisher

I’ve been thinking often lately about vulnerability. All artists know the insecure state when showing new work or trying some new approach. We don’t like feeling vulnerable and yet we would accomplish nothing in the creative field if we did not open ourselves up and expose what we’ve created. The desire to create must be stronger than the judges in our own head or the judges in our professional or even family circle. Sometimes we even carry voices from our past around with us adding to the chatter in our heads, questioning if we are really “good” enough to dare to call ourselves artists or writers, though we may have been painting, writing or sculpting for years.

Many novices get caught  in an inner battle with vulnerability, resisting the strong desire to engage in creative work but plagued by false assumptions that we have to be good at something or at least be clearly talented before we even start. Even taking a class might seem like a scarey proposition, because we assume everyone else in the class will know more than we do. Have we forgotten that the class exists so that we might learn? Do we stop to consider how one must practice to get good at anything, such as learning to play a musical instrument? Ironically, and fortunately, one of the rewards of practice is letting go into the process. Being at one with the process allows a meditative state that absorbs and dissipates anxiety about the outcome. Synchronously, we practice feeling vulnerable and over time it becomes a less threatening state.

Give yourself permission to feel vulnerable. Step out of your comfort zone.




Summer Plein Air, Painting Tips

Posted August 4, 2014 By Amy Fisher
Painting at Yashiro Japanese

Painting at Yashiro Japanese Garden




Painting directly from nature is a great way to challenge yourself and to expand your observations skills. I have been hosting weekly Friday afternoon outings to various scenic locations in the Olympia area. I begin each 3-hour session with a one hour or so demonstration of watercolor painting. Some suggestions: 1) start with one or two preliminary composition sketches to connect with your surroundings and isolate an area of the landscape to paint. Use a viewfinder (an adjustable frame to look through) to help put a frame around your area of interest and eliminate some of the sometimes overwhelming amount of extraneous information you won’t be including. Keep your sketches loose and quick, including the value shapes you see since light outdoors has so much influence on composition. 2) once you have your composition, draw the major shapes of your composition with a fine brush using pale yellow paint. This hue is easy to paint over, so don’t worry about lines being imperfectly placed. 3) lay in some areas of light and dark but respond to changing light if it reveals a better color or shape by moving around the painting, keeping your appoach fresh.