June 13, 2013

Inspiration, Fear, and Beatrix Potter

The naive may think that someone who pursues a career in something she loves or in something she's gifted at must have an easy job. Growth probably happens naturally over time and business comes and goes with ease.

I've been so blessed, I thankfully admit. God has clearly directed me and gifted me with a career I love. But I don't ever want to give you the impression that it all comes easily to me. It's quite the contrary actually. Since stepping out on my own I've never known such fear! Some paintings overwhelm me and can trigger a whole basket full of emotions. Sometimes I wonder if I'll be consumed by my fear and envy of others who are farther along in their career. Some ideas just don't work, and sometimes I just can't capture the image in my head.

There are many outlets I turn to when I feel overwhelmed by it all. I listen to podcasts so I know I'm not alone. I read the Bible to renew my mind. I talk to my best friend and husband to feel grounded and to be reminded of how far I've come.

And I go to the library.

I've consumed and admired hundreds of children's books over the years, but none compare to my favorite Beatrix Potter. Her characters calm my anxious heart and speak words of encouragement to me. Yesterday I read how her character Benjamin Bunny was based on her real-life pet rabbit "whom she sketched constantly." She'd create background scenes for her characters based on observations from her own beautiful garden at Hill Top Farm. 

Even though she was gifted she still needed practice to become the Beatrix Potter we know and love today. And she'd practice by drawing the simple things around her, the things that inspired her. I bet for every color illustration in her books there were hundreds of sketches and stories that were never published. She had to practice her skill, just like the rest of us.

What calms my fears is knowing that everyone has to practice to become an expert at what they do. There are no exceptions, and there is no magic formula. Even for the gifted.
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