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About Fear and Courage

In times of war, there is a lot of talk about bravery and courage. "Who is a hero?" the sages of Israel asked, and even answered: "One who conquers his inclinations".

Fear is an inclination. A hero is a person who, through his courage, overcame fear, and conducted himself while maintaining other values such as the sanctity of life.

Even in painting we meet fear and courage. Not at the level of life and death, but definitely at the level of being (an artist) or ceasing.

Those who want to create can't afford to give in to fear. The fear of exposure, of "what they will say", does what I create worthy at all? and similar concerns, end up paralyzing us and prevent us from creating.

I paint in layers. For me this is one of the ways to break free. I just enjoy painting. Since each brushstroke can later be covered with another, there is no pressure. I enjoy the process. And it is indeed a process. It's hard for me to say how many layers there are in a painting, but there are paintings that have perhaps dozens of layers.

I recently painted a painting on a used canvas. It had some kind of photograph or painting on it and that's how it came to me. In order to start from some kind of beginning, I decided, unlike my usual approach, to cover it first with a layer of gesso, a layer of thick white paint. Somehow it formed a texture that was a kind of cracks in the paint. It was surprising and interesting. When the canvas was all white (with tiny cracks that only a close observer can notice) I moved on to the next step. I took a wide brush and started messing around with it, loaded with dark and undefined mud paint. The line was bold, loose and unrestrained. I loved it!

What to do?

I paint in layers. This was supposed to be the first layer (after the gesso one...). If I stop now, is it out of fear? Am I afraid that if I continue, I will ruin the boldness of this line? Part of me knew it was true.

But on the other hand, this habit of painting in layers might be my safe place. Maybe it takes courage to actually leave the painting as it is, and declare it finished with only one layer on it (well, and the gesso too).

I admit it took me a long time to decide. The canvas was placed in the corner of the studio, so I saw it every time I got there. Other canvases were started and completed and it was left there awaiting sentencing.

One day it happened. I just decided this was it. It will stay that way. It was named, published and cataloged and thus I declared it a finished painting.

The real test was the test against myself. Did I feel like a defeated coward? No. I actually felt brave. I dared to draw a loose painting with no hiding, no smearing and no excuses.​


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