Fighting Resistance – The Enemy Within

I don’t want to discourage you when I tell you that it took me seven months to break through my personal barrier of resistance. Granted I did have a wedding to organize and a honeymoon abroad to enjoy in the middle of this.
But I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t I would have found something else to excuse my not producing much work. This is the nature of the beast:

While your conscious mind might say…I want to do this in terms of art…it is incredible what your unconscious will do to fight it. Whenever you start to try and CHANGE something, your inner self will fight it every step of the way.

I remember when I graduated from my Art Degree at University, instead of diving in full into my art….I decided I was going to open an Art Gallery and Workshop. Good for me, you say. Yes, but the thing was that I did this, not out of some long term dream, but simply so I didn’t need to engage with my own art practice. Let me tell you how it ran…

My first day of painting in my brand new gallery, I set out my paints and started to produce a series of abstract pieces. One two three four five six….

See? I had the right idea. I started working in a series using four primaries only ( I see green as a primary, by the way) and exploring on sheets of paper a number of techniques, including grid, flow, lines, splashes, etc.

The exercise was good! But as you well imagine the result was RUBBISH.

Well, it was the very first time I was trying out working entirely under my own steam! What did you expect? Jackson Pollock?

But what happened then? I looked at this work, decided it was rubbish, so told myself I was useless painting abstract work and didn’t try and do it again for at least another six months.

And that has been the story of my abstract painting experience. If I do not produce instant genius I stop working on it.

What causes this?


Recently I came across a wonderful little book which all artists should read. It’s is called:

The War of Art

Quoting from it, let me tell you a little about RESISTANCE.

Resistance is Insidious

“Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man. Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit. RESISTANCE IS IMPLACABLE”

“We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and we conquer Resistance. RESISTANCE ONLY OPPOSES IN ONE DIRECTION
Resistance obstructs movement only from a lower sphere to a higher. It kicks in when we seek to pursue a calling in the arts, launch an innovative enterprise, or evolve to a higher station morally, ethically, or spiritually.”

“We can use this. We can use it as a compass. We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others.”

“Remember, Resistance wants us to cede sovereignty to others. It wants us to stake our self-worth, our identity, our reason-for-being, on the response of others to our work. Resistance knows we can’t take this. No one can.”

(from “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, Shawn Coyne)

Start reading it for free:


Read on the go for free – download Kindle for Android, iOS, PC, Mac and more

One thought on “Fighting Resistance – The Enemy Within

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s