ART (read time :57) Art is NOT “in the eye of the beholder” like some would say. Rather art is the heart and soul of the artist, living at risk. It’s the blisters on the fingertips of the guitarist, the steady hand of the painter and the filthy fingernails of the sculptor. Art is the skilled precision of the bassist, the surgical timing of the drummer and the naked emotions of the singer. It’s the angst of the writer, the eye of the designer, the ear of the producer and the skilled savvy of a good manager. Art also lives in the fearless entrepreneur who willingly puts at risk who she is, for who she could become. Art begins with spontaneous inspiration from who knows where, and ends when the artist says it’s finished. Art dwells patiently in the deepest part of the soul wondering with uncertainty whether it will ever get the chance to be noticed, let alone loved. However, the artist has an enemy. The enemy is neither the self-serving critic nor the unimpassioned financier. Art’s regal foe is the demon of doubt; tempting and taunting the artist to back down, give up and do something more meaningful—more responsible. When that happens, the true artist, the courageous entrepreneur, the creative professional knows exactly what to do. They put on their boots, grab their shovel and get back to work. It’s the only way they can ever get closer and closer to their impossible vision.What kind of an artist are you? How do you defeat the demon of doubt?
J Michael Dolan

ART (read time :57)

Art is NOT “in the eye of the beholder” like some would say. Rather art is the heart and soul of the artist, living at risk. It’s the blisters on the fingertips of the guitarist, the steady hand of the painter and the filthy fingernails of the sculptor. Art is the skilled precision of the bassist, the surgical timing of the drummer and the naked emotions of the singer. It’s the angst of the writer, the eye of the designer, the ear of the producer and the skilled savvy of a good manager. Art also lives in the fearless entrepreneur who willingly puts at risk who she is, for who she could become. Art begins with spontaneous inspiration from who knows where, and ends when the artist says it’s finished. Art dwells patiently in the deepest part of the soul wondering with uncertainty whether it will ever get the chance to be noticed, let alone loved. However, the artist has an enemy. The enemy is neither the self-serving critic nor the unimpassioned financier. Art’s regal foe is the demon of doubt; tempting and taunting the artist to back down, give up and do something more meaningful—more responsible. When that happens, the true artist, the courageous entrepreneur, the creative professional knows exactly what to do. They put on their boots, grab their shovel and get back to work. It’s the only way they can ever get closer and closer to their impossible vision.

What kind of an artist are you? How do you defeat the demon of doubt?

COMMENTS


Posted By Steely James
Shovel
I've got yer shovel, you loaned it to me last year... Sincerely Steely James


Posted By Kate Reid
ART
Nice one, Michael. So good. I coined a little phrase for myself a while back: I've got to use my fear as fuel. It has never failed me. Love your blogs! Kate ps-I especially noted the "she" reference in this one...thanks for that! =:-)


Posted By Richman
Choose: Risk vs. Doubt
Excellent, very thought provoking! Decades ago I attended a life changing seminar. One of many memorable moments was an exercise called "Choose - Chocolate or Vanilla". the Point of the exercise is that each moment of each day - each of us chooses. Even when we do not choose! We choose! I now see many choices: Risk vs. Self doubt Fearlessness vs. Paralysis & the Fear of failure. Action vs. NO action. Following your inner creative voice or not. Currently, my discussion group is exploring the concept of living from possibility with the result of living an extraordinary life - moment by moment making those Risky Choices. Thanks for your contribution to my life and to that of each of your readers! Very Inspiring!


Posted By joe
right on again
michael love your blogs man! I'm afraid in some cases I'd have to add producers to the foes list.. they are often also the ones to make you back down.. not to make something more meaningful, rather something more commercial.. producers in my mind would be the best for us if they stood up for the artist and fought to bring true art to the front.. an entrepreneur should also play the part of championing the unknown artist.. we then would have the courage to never back down.. tom petty said it directly.. thanks for making me think michael :-)


Posted By Rachel
Faith...overcomes doubt
This is really beautiful. Thank you Michael:-) Ravaged by fear and torment, an artist looks before them, paints,and canvases lay waiting.. guitars, piano's (one in tune) a studio warmed by the wood heat becons... it's a life of beauty, a life of torment. It's not for the rewards that an artist needs to create, but its simply because if they don't create life is less than life. Half misery, half joy, the artist stays the course seeking to master his gifts.


Posted By Anita Rich
ART
While I might not be classified as an "artist" I truly am. I am a Real Estate Broker.My art is to put a huge puzzle together from beginning to end. If all the pieces are not neatly and perfectly in place the ART dies. I hold dreams, desires and visions in free form and cement them to a form that enlists people's hard earned money and their willingness to part with it. The dream to own a home is huge. There is a reason for the term Pride of Ownership. I see the doubts too. Questions come up and as a polished problem solver I have somewhat perfected my art and will do so till my dying day.


Posted By Doug McKechnie
Art
So clear, so true. The demon of doubt is the real enemy of the artist. Thanks, J.Michael for being here to give witness to us all.


Posted By Karen St. Claire
comment
A true artist simply cannot just give up and go do something more practical, more responsible. A true artist works at a soul level beyond the mind. The mind is where the struggle between the id and the superego could very well interfere. The soul is the essence of creation. It has no judgement, does not discriminate, and goes where it is called to serve. The everyday mundane becomes a mere speck of dust in thier glorious pallette of colors. Autopilot takes over as you begin to trust that all is taken care of. A true artist working on a soul level is in alignment with this creative force.


Posted By Elisabeth Howard
empowerment
Excellent blog. Thank you. Empowering and inspiring others to live their dreams, work hard, believe in themselves and encourage others to do the same. I would add to stay positive and distance ourselves from negative people and environments.


Posted By Rich Pulin
I was Copping Out!
I showed my wife (and occasionally co-writer) my previous 2 offerings today, and her comment was 'Cop-Out'. She insinuated that I didn't really explain myself well.. Okay, here's one last attempt! An interviewer asked me: "Rich, what do you enjoy writing most, jazz, pop, latin, classical, country or something else? And my answer was somewhat baffling to the interviewer.I answered simply...YES! Do I have a message? I suppose so. I write my music down! I copyright everything! I have no guarantee that I will make a penny...but I approach my artistry in a business-like manner! Is the C7 chord the farthest you've progressed harmonically, then start checking some books out of the library. "Songwriter is a responsibility"


Posted By Rich Pulin
Bieber Or Benghazi?
"You're over-qualified".has anyone ever heard that? For many years, I combatted the people promoting that ideology about me, in other words, it came across to me as BULLSHIT! As I developed as a musician, I changed my attitude somewhat! I received an excellent musical upbringing enabling me to circumvent all musical barriers commonly referred to by the media, most of whom that don't know any better, as genre's! Does this make my 'job' as a composer-songwriter-producer easier? Right now, my most pressing decision is to pursue becoming Justin Biebers oldest songwriter, or issue a musical comment on Benghazi? I believe that I will do both!


Posted By Rich Pulin
Belief
When it comes to self-belief, everyone has a different level..just like all of the other components that make the sum total of a person varies.. I can only imagine that if in the almost 56 years of my professional musical existence NO acknowledgement was forthcoming.but that wasn't the case.I know that I 'have what it takes', and 'on the right track'.besides talent, what it takes is persistence and knowing that you are just as good as anyone else...don't give in to the psychological games that our minds continuously try and play on us! I know.easier said than done. 'The right track'.somewhat more difficult..the 'switchman' keeps throwing the switch, and re-directing the train to different tracks.


Posted By Hugh Culbreth
5 Gold Stars
Very well put. It's not a lot of glits & glamor the true artist should seek, yet while capable of handling and accepting humbly, the appreciate of their works but the fulfilment and drive in their own heart to develop to their maximum potential their God given gifts and talents while bringing their art and crafts to which they are called to the highest form possible into their own greatest creations. You've nail the artist in a nut shell. Thanks. Again I say, "Very well put".


Posted By

I'd venture that this atrcile has saved me more time than any other.


Posted By Peter Kraus
Commentary
The demon of doubt has many faces. For the artist, one question is especially poignant. Am I doing what I want, or what is expected?


Posted By Vernon
the demon
The demon of doubt is a liar that comes to us disguised as an attractive idea. Nothing could be more responsible and meaningful than to create and express thoughts and feelings about the human condition and share them with the world. Beethoven believed he could change the world with his music. He was deaf and continued in spite of that. What would the world be like if Mozart quit and went into the construction trade? He was a Freemason after all. Imagine the world without great artist and their contributions. How many potentially brilliant artists never start because they listened to the demon of doubt?


Posted By Leon Panepinto
Daytime gig sucks
So true!! We need to have the guts to step away from all the madness and do what is real and true!!Fuck the money for now.Get the project done first. You will be so much happier, satisfied,and fulfilled with present life!!Get it done now!!!


Posted By Marcia
Fear and Doubt
Wonderful article, you really hit the nail on the head! Fear and doubt leave the room once the work begins, kinda like the enemy flees when we pray. The focus then becomes the craft itself and the decisions along the way (new fears about what paths to take may arise, but at least the momentum is there to push onward). If we wait for fear to leave begore we get started, we never will start. We need to learn that our task of art is often inherently frightening, and it's cool because as good art is risky. Feel the fear and do it anyway.


Posted By Betsy
Boots
I'm a songwriter and often I have so much doubt that I don't have the courage (or whatever it takes) to just put my cowgirl boots on and get to work. It's hard for me. I'm committed but I still struggle. After reading this blog I screamed...loud! Because I know you're right. Thank you so much Michael, every one of your blogs has touched me so deeply. Now if I can only remember where I put that shovel..


Posted By Jacqueline
ART
I love this one so much! Thank you1


Posted By Rachel
Art...the heart of Society
Thank you ! Rachel


Posted By Woody Woodham
Art
I would say art is creaton and creation is art. Regardless of whether there is an ultimate Creator of whom whose image we are made, art or, the ability to create, is an intrinsic characteristic of being human and as such no one can claim a market on it. It's something only you can create so there doesn't have to be anything competitive about it. Whatever one would choose for an occupation is an art. (Unless, of course, they are a banker.) Different people develop different forms to express art and develop various degrees of technical skill.


Posted By Stuck With Green
demon of doubt?
Hi Mr Dolan, Good blog. Enjoy your insights. I would like to read a blog of your insights on the demon of acceptance. Hope you can come up with something soon. I would enjoy reading your thoughts on this topic with all you've been through. Best regards, Matt


Posted By Holly
boots
Brings a whole new meaning to Nancy Sinatra's "Boot" Song: "These boots are made for walk'n and that's just what they'll do, 'cause one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over DOUBT!"


Posted By Skila
Art
I am Skila. I really like what you said, we feel the same way. FEAR IS DEAD www.fearisdead.com


Posted By Sheldon
Art
You have an uncanny knack for hitting the nail on the head.


Posted By Ken Budka
I mean Michael
got so fired up I posted thanks John...


Posted By Ken Budka
Makes me want to kick some ass
in pursuit of my dreams as a voiceover artist. Thank you John, well said!


Posted By Tom
Art
But when the entrepreneur is bleeding money and the artist can no longer by art supplies it's a sad day indeed.


Posted By Sabra Callas
Inspiring
I found this article in my personal mail this morning. I get quite a bit of unsolicited mail. My first instinct was to hit the DELETE button. The first sentence caught my eye and after that, I was pretty much captive to every word. I can identify with all of this. Thank you for the inspiration. It is refreshing just to know we're not alone sometimes.


Posted By Vernon
the demon
The demon of doubt is a liar that comes to us disguised as an attractive idea. Nothing could be more responsible and meaningful than to create and express thoughts and feelings about the human condition and share them with the world. Beethoven believed he could change the world with his music. He was deaf and continued in spite of that. What would the world be like if Mozart quit and went into the construction trade? He was a Freemason after all. Imagine the world without great artist and their contributions. How many potentially brilliant artists never start because they listened to the demon of doubt?


Posted By Kaleo
Thanks
Thanks, I needed that. :)


Posted By Billy
This hit home.
I have been getting my butt kicked around by that every growing doubt lately. What with the global financial problems and the day job just eating away at what's left of the former me. Reading this though, I feel like I'm not alone. Thanks sir.


Posted By Steve Morgan
Art
Well said Sir,looking for my boots as I grab my shovel.


Posted By Rubermade
DOUBT
The demon of doubt runs away every time I pick up my guitar and start playing. There's not enough space in the same room for both of us. Thanks for the reminder!


Posted By AtmaSphere Entertainment
Art.
I feel you Mr. Dolan, I feel you. Thank you.


Posted By steve urwin
perseverance
i have been blessed to be both a musician and artist.Every hidden brush stroke has enabled the ones seen to stand out.Every practised beat and note has been the springboard to the great gig last night.Few see the labour of their efforts,the hours spent and sweat to get to a better place.i would comment tokeep going it's worth it.


Posted By Betsy B
My Work Boots
I'm a songwriter and often I have so much doubt that I don't have the courage (or whatever it takes) to just put my cowgirl boots on and get to work. It's hard for me. I'm committed but I still struggle. After reading this blog I screamed...loud! Because I know you're right. Thank you so much Michael, every one of your blogs has touched me so deeply. Now if I can only remember where I put that shovel..

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• FAIL-SAFE
• FOLLOW THE LEADERS (Read time 0:39)
• ABSENCE OF FORMULA (Read time 0:51)
• Beginners Mind (Read time 0:43)
• 35 DAYS (Read time 0:47)
• THANKS!
• INDUSTRY MELT DOWN (READ TIME 1:37)
• Your Tired Strategy (Read time 0:27)
• FADE TO BLACK (Read time 1:27)
• DEEPER TRUTH (Read time 0:47)
• Blow Away Distraction 2012
• Unseen Unsold (Read Time 0:49)
• FILIBUSTER (Read time 0:30)
• Got Something To Prove? (Read time 0:37)
• R U OUT OF YOUR MIND? (read time 1:13)
• NO BIG SPLASH (Read time 0:27)
• Modus Operandi (Read time 0:49)
• DETACH (read time (0:31)
• PLAY BIGGER (Read time 0:17)
• DON’T GIVE UP (Read time :037)
• ALL TOGETHER NOW (Read time 1:03)
• R U READY? (Read time 0:47)
• EVERY SINGLE DAY (Read time 0:51)
• The New Marketing Dept. (Read time 0:23)
• O Captain! My Captain! (Read time 0:57)
• THE WORKHORSE AND THE FILLY (Read time 0:21)
• KEEP YOUR BOOTS MUDDY (Read time 0:37)
• When UR Best Effort Fails (Read time 0:29)
• STEEP CLIMB (Read time 0:27)
• SILENCE OF CHAMPIONS (Read time 1:13)
• WHY IT’S NOT WORKING (Read time 0:31)
• THE BUCK STOPS HERE (Read time 0:51)
• WE ALREADY TRIED THAT (Read Time 0:29)
• CHOOSE ONE (Read time 1:09)
• COMMIT NO PETTINESS
• LEGWORK (Read time 0:15)
• ARTISTS vs. ENTREPRENEURS (Read time 1:03)
• 5-YEAR SURPRISE! (Read time 0:43)
• MID-YEAR TO DO LIST (Read time 0:53)
• ALL IN (Read time 0:33)
• WHAT IF NOTHING CHANGES? (Read time 0:21)
• WADDA JACKASS! (Read time 1:07)
• WHAT ARE U SO AFRAID OF? (Read time 0:57)
• DON’T THINK! (Read time :31)
• Why incumbents rarely invent the future (Read time 1:13)
• THE BOX (Read time 0:33)
• STAND UP IN THE BOAT! (Read time 0:27)
• YOU’RE DREAM’N! (Read time 0:57)
• KNOWING (Read time 0:33)
• CONCEALED CONCERNS (Read time 0:47)
• TAMING THE $$$ BEAST (Read time 1:17)
• FAKING IT (Read time 0:17)
• STAYING POWER (Read time 0:47)
• 0:20 SECONDS OF INSANE COURAGE (Read time 0:51)
• GRASS (Read time 0:41)
• WITH BLOODY FINGERS I WRITE ON (read time 0:27)
• I'LL DO ANYTHING BUT THAT! (Read time 0:47)
• ASS ON THE LINE (Read time 1:37)
• MARKETING BLUES (Read time 0:47)
• THE LONG RUN (Read time 0:39)
• CREATIVITY TO THE RESCUE (Read time 2:07)
• THE RACER'S EDGE (Read time 0:41)
• NO WAY NO HOW! (Read time 0:27)
• THE SMART MONEY (Read time 0:25)
• YOU’RE CRAZY! (Read time 1:19)
• DANCING WITH YOUR DEVOTEES (Read time 0:39)
• LIBERTY!
• NO DOUBT (Read time 1:17)
• WHAT EVER YOU DO, DON'T TURN AROUND (read time :39)

2011 Posts:
• GRAND FINALE!
• 2-DOZEN WAYS TO MAKE 2012 BETTER!
• DEAR PRUDENCE (read time :43)
• COMPLAIN ALL YOU WANT! (read time :23)
• IMAGINE (read time :57)
• WEEKENDS (read time :33)
• PIXAR LETTER (read time 1:03)
• RESISTANCE CAN KILL (read time 1:37)
• AMATEURS vs. PROS (read time :57)
• REQUIEM FOR A HONEYMOON (read time 1:09)
• CAN YOU FEEL IT? (read time 1:47)
• BRANCUSI'S VICTORY CRY  (read time :57)
• SAIL AWAY (read time :43)
• ARTISTS RULE! (read time 1:23)
• USE IT OR LOSE IT (read time :53)
• START HERE (read time 1:27)
• UNCERTAINTY (read time 1:19)
• STOPPED BY CALAMITY (read time 1:37)
• ART (read time :57)
• AUDACIOUS & UNSTOPPABLE (read time 2:37)
• WRITERS BLOCK (read time 1:47)
• BLOW AWAY DISTRACTIONS (read time :31)
• WAY OF THE CREATIVE WARRIOR (read time :27)
• GOOD BYE LADY LUCK (read time 1:53)
• CONFIDENCE IS EVERYTHING (read time 1:23)
• DEADLINE OR DIE! (read time 1:53)
• THE WIZARDS CLOCK (Read time :47)
• CREATIVE PRIVACY (read time :43)
• THE KOBE IN ME (read time 1:13)
• READY, SET, GO! (read time :47)
• EVE OF DISTRACTION (read time 1:29)
• KEEP YOUR FEET UP! (read time 1:09)
• JUST ONE MORE FOOT (read time 1:57)
• MY MUSE DOESN'T CARE (read time :39)
• MISUNDERSTOOD (read time 1:19)
• DUMP IT! (read time 1:19)
• IS IT WORTH IT? (read time :49)
• THE 24 HOUR RULE (read time 2:21)
• MONK ON THE MOUNTIAN (read time: a lifetime)
• “IT” (read time 1:37)
• BORN TO SHOW (read time 3:37)
• THE STING OF REJECTION (read time 1:13)
• LESSON FROM A ROCK STAR (Read time 0:27)
• THUMB POWER (read time 1:59)
• EXPOSING THE WIZARD (read time (1:13)
• HEY, WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? (read time 1:37)
• THE WAITING WARRIOR (Read time 0:41)
• PLAY AT YOUR OWN RISK (read time :57 sec)
• AUTONOMY HIGHWAY (read time :35 sec)
• LIMPIDITY (read time :45 sec)
• WHY I MEDITATE (read time 1:00 min)
• YOUR SHADOW AGENDA (Read time 0:59)
• WHY I SOLD MY BUSINESS (read time 6:33)
• BARENAKED PROBITY (read time 1:47 min)
• THE FANTASIES OF POSSIBILITY (read time 4:17 min)
• THE TUG OF WAR (read time 5:09 min)