“… If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you – and make allowance for their doubting too…” from the poem If by Rudyard Kipling (for the complete poem go HERE)
Self doubt can sabotage one’s concentration. How well I remember standing at the free-throw line and hoping that I would not miss the final shot for a Jr.-high basketball game. Aware of my teammates, of the coach, of offensive/defensive choices if the ball missed the basket, of the next team waiting for the buzzer and warm ups; I also considered the home-town fans and strangers in the packed gym. Would my team win, would we lose, or would we go into overtime? The possibilities provided many distractions for an inexperienced young-teen! * That moment taught me an important life lesson: block out the conflicting variables and focus on the goal.
The same self doubt inflicts the creative process. When I painted the watercolor study of Smooth-billed Anis, I used an ultra-smooth Bristol Board which is very unforgiving. Once applied, the dark pigments required for the Anis could not be lifted without staining(ruining?) the paper.
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” Elbert Hubbard
Quite social and affectionate with each other, Anis stay in family clusters. Sometimes while foraging they are scattered but remain in sight of one another; they also huddle – and even cuddle – during periods of rest. The Smooth-billed and the Groove-billed Anis prepared a little slide show introduction:
Painting just one bird would not illustrate the true behavior of the flock.
The painting advanced one bird at a time, and with each bird – self doubt peered over my shoulder and whispered, “Are you sure you want to add another bird? What if you make a mistake? The painting might be ruined.”