A New Blog & Some Thoughts on Fear

Ok, I finally did it.  I transitioned from a very inconsistent newsletter to a blog.  Many have suggested I make this change for the past year or so, but for some reason the idea of a blog scared me – so naturally I decided to say f*%k off to fear and dive right in!  If you know me and the history of MJL Fine Art you know that I have been kicking fear in the arse for a few years now, or at least I’ve been trying to.  I don’t want fear to make my decisions for me.  Nelson Mandela stated it simply and concisely, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”  I keep this quote posted in my studio for a daily reminder to not give power to fear.

In 2021 my solo show at LOFT112 was cancelled twice (thankfully in retrospect) before it finally went ahead in October.   I say thankfully because initially I was creating work with a focus on what I thought people would like, with what I thought would sell.  A few things happened.  Firstly, I created uninspired work that bored me to death while creating it. Secondly, working this way established a deep-seated period of imposter syndrome for me.  Truthfully, I kind of was an imposter, because I was creating art that was not connected to me at all.  Through practicing this way, my fear of not being enough, and not being considered a “real artist” was fortified.  The fear and confusion were extremely frustrating and artistically debilitating. By the time I was given the 3rd date for my show in 2021 I was at the point where I said “screw this” I’m going to create a collection of work that I love!  I am going to make this for me, I am going to throw myself into the process and be 100% engaged, and if I don’t sell one piece, I will hang it in my house proudly.  This was the birth of my DIVERGENT collection – a collection of work that visually represents how I navigate the world as a person with ADHD. 

abstract painting with line pattern and movement

When that show opened, I was very nervous.  Although I had a lowkey confidence in the collection, it was ALL ME. If it only received polite nods and “oh, nice” then my fears would be justified.  However, to date this collection has been my most popular by far.  There are only a few pieces left.  In fact one piece, "Directionally Challenged", was so popular that a gentleman offered me double for it after it sold!  Of course, I refused, but that incident and how people were drawn into this collection and connected with it solidified the fact that fear has no place in art making.  (pictured here: Directionally Challenged, 24" x 48")

I have reflected quite a bit about the DIVERGENT collection and how it came together.  The lowkey confidence I referenced above existed because I was in “the zone” while creating each piece.  I now know that the only way I attain that type of harmony during my process is from getting out of my own way, relying on the methods I have always gravitated toward (aka trusting my intuition), and providing myself with absolute trust.  Additionally, I was one hundred percent ok with failing, which I think is the magical and elusive key to “getting in the zone”.  In my opinion a lack of fear or the ability to get in the zone is not about confidence or believing you will succeed; it’s found in the acceptance that failure is a distinct possibility, understanding you will survive failure if it happens and moving forward anyway.  

I will stop my pontificating here!  I plan to post twice a month and send an email reminder out with each post.  If you aren’t already on my email list and would like to be please click here. I look forward to interacting with you as you follow along my artistic journey.   I invite you to comment or to leave me questions about my process or work.

One more announcement.....

My next post will be discussing this in much more detail, however, my newest collection will be exhibiting in May at LOFT112 in Calgary.  

Back to blog


very nice post !
It takes more than aesthetic skills and a great effort to create a converting design. In this post, we share 10 unique ideas to use abstract illustrations in your design.

Nhu Lilian

Well Done!!! Interesting to read and invites the audience in. A great way to get to know you as an artist!! Take a bow!!

Cathy Bible

I applaud you on your endeavor. You know I have always been fascinated with your work, by our interactions on Instagram, but this is amazing. Being exposed (if you will) by your inner thoughts and feelings is huge. As a fellow artist who also shares the ADHD sticker, with you…this is so huge!! Looking forward to joining you on this journey, you take. Keep Calm and Keep on Painting!!


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