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Fireside Chat with Stefan Baumann – Fear of Judgment

 Fireside Chat with Stefan Baumann - title image of Baumann talking with a group of artists around a campfire

The Artist’s Greatest Fear 

Fireside Chat with Stefan Baumann - image of painting of a rocky mountain goat by Stefan BaumannThis week we were sitting around the campfire after a day of Plein Air painting and the question came up “What is the greatest fear that all artists have?” I thought for a moment and said “The Fear of judgment.” “Judgment from others, from peers, and from themselves.  And, for a good reason, because all artists are impostors.”

Artists prefer showing what worked and only what they want you to see. They will seldom show you the stack of paintings that did not turn out well and they have hidden under the bed.

Children have a natural attraction to drawing. They’re fearless when they use crayons and paper. In fact, when asked to draw anything, they will spontaneously burst into joyful creative activity. There is no end to the multitude of colors and creative compositions that flow effortlessly from their imaginations. But sadly, this all comes to an end for most people.   Why? At an early age around 3 or 4 when this burst of creative genus begins, it is so natural to make a mark on paper or even on walls.  Just like the drawings that the first cavemen drew in caves art has always been a way to communicate. This free expression has lead to some of most fantastic art ever created thousands of years ago.

Children create freely and endlessly the moment they see paper and any device that can make a mark.    When I ask students In high school “Why don’t you create art?” they most often say, “I’m not taking an art class.” Students in College say, “Its not my major.” Later in life the excuse is “I have to focus on a real career.” Then later, working people say, “I don’t have the time” and then finally, retired people say, “I don’t have talent.”

What happened to the Child, the free-thinking, creative spirit that inspired thousands of drawings and pictures? Art is one of the first things that children can do freely that they own.  In a world of “NO! Be Quiet! Sit-down!” art is something they can do that has no rules.  You can make a purple cow and a sun that looks like a star as long as it is yellow, until some day, Mom shows up and says “Billy, There is no such thing as a purple cow. And, by the way, that cow looks more like a dog. Let me show you how.” This critique is given as a learning opportunity by the parent, but the child experiences that he or she has done something is wrong. The free flowing creative moment is gone, replaced by rules and expectations.

I have coached many people over the years who long to be creative and learn how to paint. And very often, overcoming the fear of failing again as they felt at the age of 3 is as important as painting itself.

If you are interested in exploring your creative child or if you want to take your art to he next level, I invite you to go to my YouTube channel, consider phone coaching with me, and attend a workshop here in Mt. Shasta where we discuss life, art, and creative passion with other artists around the campfire.

Please visit my website at for more information.

Call me for information on workshops or coaching 415-606-9074

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