Curbing Artistic Apprehension – Lauren

What do you do when things fall apart?

Most of us pick up the pieces hoping to put them back together, or for some of us, to throw them away. However, I don’t do either. When things fall apart, I fall apart. And When I feel the first creeping sensation of collapse, I do art. So what happens when your art falls apart? Well… Now I know.

For a variety of reasons, last week was a train wreck (and not just in terms of my art independent). As the pieces of my project start to fall into place, I can feel myself freezing. Humans are supposed to have a fight or flight response, which carries into our reactions to stress. Some people conquer their stress with action, and others flee from it. Unfortunately, paralysis seems to be my natural reaction. Big term paper? Frozen. Biology exam? incapacitated.  Analytical paper on an obscure and fascinating topic? Consider me dead. Art? Art is the most proactive reaction I have to stress. It’s the one thing that doesn’t antagonize me with crippling anxiety. So why am I stuck?

In the past week, I’ve done my best to work through it. My community outreach for models has had a phenomenally positive response, with a little less than a dozen students willing to work with me. This should be excellent news. One of my biggest project dilemmas has been removed, and yet, I manage to find my stomach tied into knots at the thought of picking up figure drawing again. It’s been a year since I’ve done any croquis or other extended human studies on anyone besides myself. I’m nervous.  In a way, all these community outreach responses are my worst nightmare. What if they don’t like the way I drew them? What if I need than for longer than they’re willing to sit? In the end, my nerves don’t matter because this community has provided me with the exact opportunity I was looking for, and I have to honor that, as well as the needs of my independent project. Whether I’m frozen or not, I’ll be working through it.

Among the nerves there is also excitement. This is what I do, and I can finally return back to it with the care and time it requires. In the midst of my self-perpetuated chaos, I did manage to do a few charcoal studies of myself. (All drawings were done by me unless otherwise noted.)




As I talked about in my last post, recognizing the subject through ones own eyes is crucial. These aren’t exactly my best work, but then again, they weren’t meant to be. The purpose of a study is to experiment and gain a further developed sense of the subject. In my particular case, these studies also serve as introductory pieces to figure drawing.

I’ve been thinking about fear throughout this whole experience. At some point in my child hood, my mother told me that I should do the things that scare me; the things that push me. Part of being an artist is testing boundaries, and if I can’t push mine I won’t be able to push any. So, it’s time to get cracking.


There may not be as much printmaking as I had previously planned in the next week or two. Rather, I will be focusing as much as I can on studying the human portrait.

If I can squeeze it in, perhaps I’ll do some work in abstract monotypes (they take a little less prep work)

Here are some links which explain the kinds of monotype printing I typically work with:

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