Weekend Workshop - Courage vs. Confidence

30 Days of Aqua #11 Acrylic, toner on panel 6" x 6" x 3/4" 2018

30 Days of Aqua #11 Acrylic, toner on panel 6" x 6" x 3/4" 2018

As I prepare for my weekend workshop here in Boulder, I'm reflecting on the title and focus of this workshop. I first heard the quote "Courage is more important than Confidence" from the designer Debbie Millman. It struck me immediately that courage is the key to all creative pursuits and is critical in the broader context of ALL life choices.

There's an assumption that we must lead with confidence. That KNOWING is the way to project success. Showing uncertainty or vulnerability is weakness and not to be exposed.

But of course, without being willing to face the unknown with a direct gaze, we miss out on the truly adventurous experiences in life and art. And in order to face the unknown, we must have courage, and at the very least, curiosity. In fact, I would say that curiosity comes first, then courage, and then eventually, confidence. 

The 3 C's: Curiosity - Courage - Confidence!

In art making - we reach for a color, or a texture, or a tool to make a mark because we are curious. "I wonder what would happen if I did ___?" No judgement, just curious. This is the state of play that is so necessary in the creative process, and why it becomes addictive. From this state of play, there are no limits, no boundaries, no one saying NO.

Because if we can't be courageous in the simple process of pushing paint around, my guess is we are shutting down bigger possibilities in our lives. Art is a mirror and shows us what is true for us.