FEARLESS, We Paint: Guest Post By Barbara Martin


BIG: Everything Changed When I Painted Fearless

Connie’s blog first caught my attention because of its name: Dirty Footprints. Speaking of dirty footprints, I have tracked spaghetti sauce, paint, and mud through my house countless times. Yes, as an adult! Then there’s the vintage blue suitcase version of Dirty Footprints Studio on the go. That cracks me up; I’m old enough to remember when hard-sided clamshells were the “it” style suitcase.

Connie’s outlook on creativity, her enthusiasm, her writing and her photos and her painting got me a tiny bit excited about making art again, enough to start listening to that small whisper of “maybe it’s time”. I’ve always said I was a writer. Or a garden designer. Or a mom. Or whatever. I dabbled in arty things now and then, but I never claimed to be an Artist.

When BIG came along, I was compelled to say YES. That previously timid inner voice was suddenly stamping its foot and yelling, “DO IT!”

This was a stretch, kind of a wild hair, this impetuous jump into fearless painting. Sure, I loved finger painting when I was little and always ended up covered in paint, but I hadn’t painted anything since grade school.

I began BIG with the innocent intention of “curiosity” in that I wanted to participate, let things unfold, and find out what would happen, if anything would happen, if anything would change for me. Little did I know how painting fearless would change my life!

Now, among other things, Connie has an uncanny, almost spooky knack for getting in my head. She has a way of gazing intently through the video camera, knowing exactly the right moment to point her finger and say:“Yes, this means YOU.” She’ll do it gently and with love, at * just * the moment when I am about to wriggle out of trying something new or scary or hard or challenging.

If you opt for BIG, know that it demands courage and commitment and full-on participation.

For an introvert like me, group participation can be overwhelming. But with Connie at the helm and through the encouragement and strength of the women around me, I trusted and made the leap. And yes, the net appeared. Over and over again! I experienced the full force power shield of a fierce and fearless, yet kind and wise, group of women supporting each other on an expedition into the unknown. And the whole time, it was totally OK to be … me.

I am surprised by the intensity of my first paintings – strong hot colors swirl and chop, crash and burn, exploding to fill the space, covering every inch in bold strokes of brilliant red, metallic gold, turquoise!!! Soon there was a quiet, introspective and dreamy scene of a labyrinth in winter. And a disturbing scene from … the circus. And the one I call my “WTF are you doing” cranky self portrait face paired with the same day self portrait when my head exploded. Each painting came alive in its own way. Even the simplest painting of a repeated geometric shape became a pulsing series with an intricate flow of deep purple oozing through it like the start of an unstoppable river.

Somehow, painting fearless became an unstoppable force in my life. For the duration of BIG, I was sucked in like an addict. Each day I would pull myself together, take a deep breath, look deep inside, pick up a brush, and start. And it felt so good!

To this day I can’t tell you where the paintings come from. In a way, it’s simple. Simple, yet not simple at all. They just come through and I let my brush put the paint there where it wants to be. No mistakes. No thinking. No over-thinking. Set the intention and ….

Just. Paint.

I signed up for BIG with no expectations and no paint skills and nothing to prove, just a willingness to trust the process and give it an honest try and be as fearless as I could manage and see what would happen. And, um, stuff happened.

First off, I discovered that I actually enjoy painting and yes, I can paint just fine. (How sad is that, to “forget” all about something you love to do, or think that you “can’t” do it, so you live for decades without doing that wonderful, fun thing?!)

Another part of what happened is I can claim I am an Artist out loud, without flinching.

I found clarity in other areas, too. I ventured to places in my heart where I would not ordinarily dare to go and examine and feel. Places I might rather stuff down and let moulder somewhere dark. And places where I am so energized I want to shine a spotlight and set off fireworks and celebrate like crazy!

When BIG ended, the paintings COVERED the walls of my studio. (Yes, now I have a studio!) While I was thrilled by “what happened” with the paintings on the wall, I was truly touched and startled by “what happened” inside me when I painted fearless.

But most of all, I was astounded to be having so. Much. Fun.

And then I cried because it was over.

Next up, woohoo! I see DEEP has “my” painting (literally and figuratively) all over it. I can hardly wait for it to start.


Barbara Martin (@Reptitude on Twitter) is a writer, artist and creativity coach specializing in creative entrepreneurs. She blogs at http://reptitude.com and for much of the year can be found huddled under a daylight-simulating (reptile warmer) bulb in the Pacific Northwest.


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BIG is currently on sale HERE! Starts January 9, 2011–ring in the New Year BIG!

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