F. C. from Pana, Illinois asked, "I've gotten a small reputation as an artist and would like to try a new medium. Now I'm struggling with the possibility that I may not be able to learn a new skill. What can I do?"

Dear F.C.,

First, it is helpful to admit that everyone has two ways of keeping themselves from trying new things - fear of failure or success! I know that I have moments of both myself and see it as a universal phenomenon. Let's talk failure today since that's the most prevalent way of making oneself stay in the same pattern, even if the pattern isn't healthy or full of freedom.

You are totally correct that you may stink learning the new skills needed to maneuver a new medium. Just as you learned the methods of your current medium - it takes time to master new things. Now, you can approach the learning process in several different ways. Behind door number one is the option of taking classes at local junior colleges. Several people will be there to witness your struggle, but less stress than an art school. Door number two holds private tutors. Find an artist in the medium you desire and ask him/her to help you without an audience. Or door number three holds the option of teaching yourself. Solitaire experimentation while studying books, videos, television programs, audio tapes or websites can get you started in building your confidence before taking classes. You can choose which door and how many people watch while you do the dance of inexperience. The alternative is never learning at all, which is unacceptable if you truly are striving for creativity. I can almost guarantee that you will learn something from the new experience that will be helpful even with your current medium.

You decide between door #1, door #2 and door #3. But don't stand in the hallway forever. Time's a wasting!

Thanks for asking!  Lynnette Schuepbach

Lynnette is an author/illustrator who sees creativity in every aspect of life. To find out more about her and creativity, visit her Web site KidsDoRead.com.  Her children’s books create curiosity in children and speak to sibling rivalry and bullying.

Lynnette serves as chair of Art in the Park on the second weekend of October at the Lindendale Park in Highland. Many local artists will be exhibiting there. It’s her pleasure to be a part of this opportunity for you to experience “World Class Art in a Hometown Atmosphere.” More info at www.highlandartscouncil.org.

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