Nature does not ask permission

Moving from fear to creative permission, and what actually happened when I started making art again

Original artwork by Bernadette Cay. Paper and acrylics on Stonehenge paper.


As some of you may know, I had stopped making art for 10 years, before starting to make art again around this time last year. 

In examining my creative blocks, I noticed something odd about one of them: I was waiting for someone to give me permission to make art. As a “good student,” I was used to getting permission and seeking external validation before taking action.

Because making art wasn’t practical, I didn’t feel like I was “allowed” to do it. I felt selfish and guilty for wanting to do something just because I enjoyed it. At its core, this was fear: fear of some kind of punishment or social ostracization.

I realized that such permission would only come from myself. Furthermore, whether or not anyone gave me permission to make art, the desire for creative expression was not going to go away.

At peace and alive

I smile when I think about what actually happened when I started to make art again on nights and weekends: Instead of pain or punishment, I felt at peace and alive. To my surprise, instead of social ostracization, over the past year I’ve strengthened existing relationships and made new ones among viewers who resonate with my art. 

This quote was one of many pieces of wisdom that helped me reframe those beliefs and start making art again. It’s also the inspiration for the above piece of art, from my latest group of work.

“Nature doesn’t ask permission. Blossom and birth whenever you feel like it.” – Clarissa P. Estés