Imposter syndrome, anyone?

I experience imposter syndrome on a daily basis. I’m new to the whole blog thing and I haven’t found my voice, or a rhythm yet. It just doesn’t flow as I would like, but I suppose it will come in time. It’s been since college English and creative writing in the mid 1990s since I have written anything. I ruminate over punctuation, grammar and sentence structures and I’m still not going to be great at it. I need to be OK with that. Because you know what, I cannot let those things hold me back from going for it in these endeavors. Fear has held me back in many ways over my lifetime, as is the case for a lot of people. I’m at point in my life where I can’t let fear dictate when, or how I go about doing a thing. I just have to do it before I change my mind. It’s either right, or I learn something.

Being creative again after being blocked for so long is such a new thing for me. I feel unsure of myself and how my work will be received by others. Is it good enough to hang? Is it low-brow? Does it have a legitimate categorization? I think it’s because I’m a self-taught artist with a disjointed body of work scattered over two decades. What would trained artists think of my work or what I have to say? The swirling negative thoughts won’t seem to stop sometimes. I just have to keep moving gleefully forward if I’m to get past it.

I also sometimes think that those who know me, see me as being a little more “crazy” than usual. I’m going out on a limb here. Betting everything on a career in art at this late stage in life probably seems “crazy” to most. I can only say that what I’m doing right now makes more sense to me than anything I’ve ever done. Well, enough about that.

Discovering a new art technique

I discovered the technique that I’m currently using quite by accident while breaking down one of those molded paper pulp package inserts to put into my recycling. I liked the texture on the outside and I thought it might be fun to play with it, so I carefully broke it down into usable pieces. I started gluing the pieces down with matte gel medium, wetting the seams with a little water, and knitting the fibers together using a tapping motion with the tip of my paintbrush. I used tweezers to tear off thin layers, or tiny bits of the wet paper pulp to fill in, and to smooth out the transitions between pieces. I found this process to be quite calming and time seemed to fly by.

I think about the possibilities for this technique and I get excited to expand on the idea. I plan to go larger in scale, but that will require a lot more recycled paper pulp than I can get my hands on at the moment. I’ve been lucky to have friends and other local artists gift me several pieces of the package inserts. I’d really like to find some of the large inserts that would be used for furniture or appliances. I’ve seen them at Home Depot when I used to work there many years ago.

For now, I’m experimenting with different paper and carboard types to get the textures that I want. Nothing I’ve tried works as well. Since the pressed paper pulp has no glues or additives, it quickly absorbs water and is completely moldable in minutes. Whereas with cardboard, it needs to soak for a while before it’s soft enough to work with.

My latest almost finished piece “Number Four”

I use recycled materials to create art that you will need.


  • Mark Picklesimer

    When ever you think you are too old to become an artist, remember Grandma Moses. She began painting at 78, and she had no formal training. Life is an adventure, and we all have skills, that if properly nurtured, could become a great talent. I look forward to seeing your work at the Guggenheim.

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