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Fret None. Dive In. Make Art. Today.

by Moshe Mikanovsky on 8/25/2011 10:53:06 AM

This article is by Moshe Mikanovsky, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  An emerging artist searching his way in the art world, he loves to share what he learns.  With over 20 years of technology experience, Moshe combines his technological background and his passion for the arts with the goal of "working his dream".  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.


I have just turned a milestone in my life. I have turned 40. I don’t know about you, and from which direction you are looking at this number, but this is probably the age that I actually remember my parents celebrating.  Now, I look at my kids, experiencing me as their parent and being in those shoes that I have been in not so long ago... very weird feeling, growing up.


My wife had an extreme gift idea for me – she bought me a tandem sky dive. She was hinting, saying stuff like “I am going to throw you off an airplane” and the sort so I kind of prepared myself to something like that. A couple of weeks before my actual birth-date, she and my kids brought me my gift that morning (the receipt and some information about it), and she said that the day was today, I panicked for a few seconds. TODAY? I am not ready for this! I need time to prepare emotionally and psychologically. To tell myself I can do it, fight the resistance to run away, and maybe invent few excuses for why I can’t do it. But today? That’s not enough time at all!


All of that went through my head in the first half of these few seconds. Throughout the second half I was telling myself: This is better! Just dive in, do it without any thought, don’t fret, it will pass and be gone. Thousands of people are doing it every day and we don’t hear about any of them failing, or getting killed. You will be fine. Don’t worry and don’t stress about something that will be out of your control – at least by the time you jump out of the airplane!


And surprisingly enough, after those initial in-shock seconds, I was ready. Although the drive to the diving school took more than an hour and we had to wait another 5-6 hours before I could get up in the air (too many clouds, too much wind), in the end I did it! And I survived to tell the story. And I LOVED it. The initial split second that you have to jump (or be thrown out of the airplane with your tandem diver) was the scariest in this entire experience. But once you do, the amazing feeling of freedom, the air in your face and then the slower glide through the beautiful skies and amazing work-of-art under you called earth, is worth that split second.


Diving and landing again on solid ground, it took a couple of weeks for the adrenaline levels to go down (as well as my wife's hero status in our congregation for setting the bar so high for all other spouses), I was thinking about how I can apply this experience to my daily artist career. The first thought that stroked me was why was I was able to handle the fear and fight it so efficiently, while many of the fears I have in this emerging-artist business are so much harder to deal with? After all, painting and making art, my passion from the time I can remember myself, are the things I want to do and no one is forcing me to do them. Why fears such as not being good enough (self inflicted), or fearing criticism and rejection (a substantial fear, just see all my rejection letters from the past year alone) are working so strongly against me and holding me back to achieve my dream?


Thinking about it some more, the answer might be simple. At the end of the day, it is all up to me. No one is there in tandem to push me, hold my brushes and paint for me. I am the one responsible for that and it is all up to me. In addition, the future is unknown. I don’t see the ground from 10,500 feet and know it will come to an end. That future can be as fun and successful as I could imagine, but also, with the tricks of the mind, it can be a black hole with no end. The same is true for the time it will take to achieve it and so many of the unknowns.


So what should I do? Set achievable goals to see the ground and where I need to be. Then set some new goals. Ask for help, if not for holding my paintbrushes, but for other things like help with marketing or networking or accounting, or whatever it is that will help me get more painting time. And most importantly, tell myself: Yes, today I can do it. Not tomorrow, or in a week or two, but today! Last but not least, it won’t be so bad to remind myself that if I dived from 10,500 feet, I could probably do anything!


This inspired me and I must thank my dear wife for giving me this inspiration and believing in me. I hope it will inspire you, too. Tell us about your stories, conquering your fears, inspiring all of us to do the same.





PS Are you interested to see a video of my jumping off that airplane? I have uploaded it to my Facebook page, so all you have to do is Like my page (, and look for it over there. Enjoy!



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Topics: art criticism | art marketing | creativity | FineArtViews | inspiration | Moshe Mikanovsky | sell art 

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Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors
Well HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! My husband was about your age when he jumped out of an airplane. Somehow, I never had the desire...

Last Saturday, I did my own version of your jump. I spent $20.00 for the opportunity to be part of an "Air Fair" in a town nearby. I decided that I would stand up and paint all day. I had some crazy idea that I would get people to sit for me (nobody would) but I came prepared with a photo to paint from, a lady's face that I have done many times before, someone I was familiar with.
I started with my sketch long before the crowds appeared. When my painting got to the ugly stage, people were coming up to me and saying how good it looked. I couldn't stop, not for food, water, or other basic necessities, I was absolutely driven to make that portrait work, since I had an audience. I was terrified that it would turn out badly, but it didn't. People came by and told my friend and I that we were the only artists there that were actually painting!
I'm probably going to do this again.
Have a good year Moshe!

Good article! We are indeed finite. I was turning 50 when a light went on about what I wanted to accomplish. It's amazing what a year or so brings. I built a non-profit for women over 40 (great age in a woman's life), am producing our first exhibition artists (men and women) over the age of 40. Have rubbed elbows and made friends with significant artists. Am building the art careers of worthy creatives. And struggle to find time for my own work. But the greater point is, that I am having the time of my life doing exactly what I am here to do, make art and be in service to something greater than me.

And yes, it is a daily practice. : )

Thanks for this article.

jack white
I was almost as old as you are now when I sold my first painting for $10. You are what we call in Texas, a young whipper snapper.

Good thoughts in this article. (smile) Jack

George De Chiara
Happy Birthday Moshe! While I don't think I could ever jump out of a plane, I can relate to taking lots of little jumps to further my art career. It seems like almost everything we do as artists requires us to push beyond our comfort level. I'm not sure if it's true that there isn't anyone in tandem to push us, we do have our wife's (or husbands) to push us when we need it.

Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors
haha George, sometimes wives (or husbands) are there to PULL us back... Someone has to have a little sense sometimes. :-)

Lee McVey
Moshe, What a great birthday present! I'm not sure I could have gone through with that jump. And thank you for sharing the story and the analogy to an art career. We artists do risk a lot of unknowns and sometimes we have to just jump in.

Carolyn Henderson
Moshe: You and your wife sound like a great team -- and I like the imagery of your freefalling up in the sky while she's got her feet firmly planted on the ground!

That'll flip flop, and that's what makes the teamwork work.

Carolyn Henderson
Terri: do you have more information on the non-profit you are building for women over 40?

Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors
Yes, Terri, I would like to know about your non-profit too!

Kathy Chin
Happy Birthday Moshe and thanks for the article. As you intimated, it's the first step off the plane that's the hardest, but once you take that step, there's no turning back, and you just might enjoy the ride to boot!!!

I've been telling myself that I'm not afraid of doing new things...but instead I've labeled it "procrastination." Hmmmm...maybe not fear exactly, but a whole lot of doubt, hesitation, lack of self-confidence, and more rolled into that procrastination. My steps may be smaller, but i'm going to get to that plane yet!!!

Donald FOx
Congratulations on your birthday and on your giant leap. Human psychology is fascinating. For many people the thought of jumping out of an airplane is terrifying and they would never consider doing it. For others, they do it to prove they can control or conquer the fear. When a fear is confronted, as you suggest, it transforms into exhilaration or inspiration or confidence. The greater the fear, the greater the release. Your story is a good reminder that the fear is something self-created - if the mind can exaggerate it, it can also dinimish it. The only thing between us and our goals is us.

Judith Rothenstein-Putzer
Happy Birthday Moshe! I did my virgin scuba dive @ 60, about the same time I really plunged into my art career. It just keeps getting better!!!

Sharon Weaver
Happy Birthday and much success in the coming year. I recently did my first demo in front of a group of about 45 artists. I never envisioned myself as a teacher and I was pretty terrified when I woke up the morning of the demo. I spent the day preparing and had a bit of anxiety when on my way there I ran into an accident on the freeway. I made it with just enough time to set up and launched into the nitty gritty of the importance of a good composition. Several people came over at the break to tell me that I was the most organized artist the group ever had do a demo. Amazingly I really enjoyed teaching to like minded artists. I guess my demonstration was a success because the club asked me back to judge their upcoming show. That's two new skills to add to my resume.

Virginia Giordano
Hi Moshe - great story, happy birthday! Several years ago, I woke up and said, oh I think I'll go skydiving today.

I had never even considered it before, it just came into my head. I called a place about an hour away, trained in 1 day and signed up for a single, static line jump. They used those big WW ll type white parachutes. I didn't get scared until I was loaded on the plane with 3 others, last b/c I was the lightest. Watched them jump and their helmets disappear beneath us as the plane moved past them, felt like I was in some kind of space movie. I jumped at 3000', remember hearing the whoosh of the parachute as it opened. Up there by myself in the quiet of the sky, it was among the most peaceful times I ever experienced.

Jumping was greater than any fear I ever faced, and there were plenty before that. It helped me keep fear of anything else in perspective for months, years after.

Thank you for helping me bring this great memory back - I think it may be time for another jump!

via did you start a non profit? I would love to do something like that here where I live. And what an inspiring article!!! Just jump in and do it!! Since I am older I tend to be a little on the cautious side..and that doesn't always work when one wants to succeed in an art career.

Joanne Benson
Happy Birthday Moshe! And many more to come! How about hang gliding next year? LOL Sounds like a great challenge was met and lots of good analogies were made. I think we all need a little push from time to time!

Jo Allebach
Happy birthday! 40 seems a long ways behind me. The analogy is great because I am very fearful of the art marketing aspect of this career.

Jack - I always love to hear you tell of when you started out. Then I don't feel I am too old to be at this stage of my life.

Jo..I think you and I may be in the same boat...40 is a ways past for me as well. And I find that in some ways being older has made me more aware of life and its I feel that I should just "go for it". But then I start thinking too much and that's when I become a little fearful and cautious. I have hsd a drawing sitting at my table for days now and just can't seem to get going on it. Like I am thinking "what if I do this wrong?". I know that at some point I will go into my studio and just start on seems there a few of us that are older and are finally finding the time to work on our art...and I love that!!!

Joanne Benson
Chris .... Don't be afraid of doing the drawing...It's only paper and if you mess up you can start again...It's how you learn...and life is the journey not the result.....I used to worry about wasting paper .... no is my guilty pleasure and I will paint as much as I want .....LOL .....I'm in the over 40 crowd as well and I know what you mean about thinking more about life and its brevity! My mom is 88 and she is thankful to wake up every day.

jack white
Jo, Chris and a lot more...

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm almost 8 decades old. Folks say age is just a number; however, I find instead of walking, I now waddle. I cannot find a spot on my body that doesn't ache at one time or another during the day.

The glory of playing football has me paying the price for a miss-spent youth. Both of my knees hurt...I have bone on bone rubbing together. The thought of jumping out of a plane is okay, but knowing I have to land scared the britches off me. My knees would never forgive me. Just getting out of our truck and stepping on the ground is a price to pay. (smile)

With that said, I'm thrilled with the life we live. Mikki and I live in a dream home/studio. We still travel. I'm working on my 11th book. I write 10 to 11 hours a day. Every day I answer a dozen to 15 artists emails from from all over the world asking for help. My right shoulder is too messed up to paint and I'm just not good enough with my left to do the tight detail needed in my work. I finally put up my brushes. My easel has a portrait of Texas Ranger Jack Hays, on the canvas holder. I did the portrait for the cover of my book on the Mexican/American be printed this fall.

As we age we learn other things to love. My passion for writing is the same I had for painting. I realize physically I can not longer paint at the level I demand. I still don't write a well as I want, but I think I'm improving.

As soon as I finish my historical novel on Oklahoma, I want to write a thriller. The Oklahoma book is actually finished, I'm working on my third draft...probably will need two more writings before I can send the manuscript to the editors.

Thanks, for listening. It's great to have FASO friends. Many of you I have known for a long time, but it's wonderful to gain new friends and a few doubters. Jack

Moshe Mikanovsky
Wow, thank you everyone so much for the wishes!

I am so glad that my story inspired you. The process of writing it down and sharing it with you all also gave me great inspiration!

Cheers everyone

Moshe Mikanovsky
Jack, you are an amazing person and artist, and an inspiration for all of us! It is an honour to know you, read your wisdom words and learn from you.

Thank you!

I cannot wait to read your books!!! I love the one you emailed to there a way to actually get my hands on that book? Sometimes I just want to read a few pages when I am at lunch break at work...and I have no access to a computer....and yes Joanne, I will just go in and work on my drawing! My problem is I am a perfectionist and if I don't get it "right" I get discouraged. But I am learning to see it as a learning curve and sometimes I can change what I was doing and make it look even better than I originally planned!! I love reading what others on here have to say!!!!

Donna Robillard
I am in the over 60 crowd, and always before I had been scared to try painting - mainly because I didn't know or even understand the first thing about oil painting. Five years ago, after taking a couple drawing classes at our local university, my instructor strongly encouraged me to take Painting I. I said to myself, "Why not?" , and I am hooked on it now. In another semester in another painting class we had to paint a portrait - something I had never done before. I didn't know what to look for when drawing a person, much less paint one. Now I just love it. Taking the 'dare' with painting has encouraged me in even more things I've encountered in my life.

jack white
Where to Find My Books

Several of you have recently asked.

I have six art marketing books and a historical novel, Ten Year in Texas. This covers the ten years Texas was a Republic.

Galleries and artists tell me my book on selling art is the best they have ever read. The Magic of Selling ART.

You can find them on and

My historical novel on the Mexican American War will be ready before Christmas. It's at the printers being edited.

My historical novel on Oklahoma will be ready in the spring.

My murder mystery I did for my eBay alter ego is in print. Email me and I'll give you that link.


Jo Allebach
Chris - I sometimes leave something around to find out what it needs. I think you are ready to get back to you drawing.
Life's brevity is a catalyst to paint every day and practice, practice, practice. I don't have the time to be an 'up and coming young artist.}

Jack - you're the best.

You are right I am ready to get back to it. I usually have 2 or 3 drawings going at one time as well a journal page or two and collage... That way I just have to work on something if I am not coming up with a new idea. Part of my problem with not being motivated is my husband left for Phoenix last Monday and I realized he is my inspiration!!! So thanks for the encouragement!!!

Carolyn Henderson
Donna: Steve teaches Quest classes, specifically designed for people over the age of 55, and they are his favorite students. They have a lot of experience doing a lot of things; they have the confidence that comes with this experience; and they're willing to put in the work it takes to get good at what they're learning.

Best to you on your onward procession!

Jo Allebach
If your husband is in Phoenix he is hot! That is where I am. I hope your inspiration comes home soon.

That is so true!!! He lived in Las Vegas for 30 years and I moved there after we got married 3 years ago. We now live back in Omaha where we both grew up. So I know what you mean by hot!! And he told me the other day that he forgot how hot it is in Phoenix! But I would take that hot over the hot and humid of Nebraska anyday. And yes, he is on his way back here and should be home later today. Do you have a website that has some of your work on it? I have found that looking at other artists work inspires me to get back to work. Thanks, Chris

Jo Allebach
Still hot in Phoenix. My website is:

Now back to painting.

Donna Robillard
Carolyn: Thanks for sharing about the Quest classes. I'll check into those.

Jack, I have an unrelated question to any of your articles, but I am so impressed with you and your wife Mikki...her art and yours. And that you are so willing to share your wisdom with those of us who are just starting out. The mediums I like the best and use are watercolor pencil, watercolors and inks. I notice that most art that is recognized as really good is in oils. I did try acrylics the other day and was pleased with the more intense colors. And I love the colors in an oil painting. Is there a market for watercolor pencil? I like that I have more control with them than in painting. I appreciate your time and wisdom. Thank-you..Chris
PS I loved your article on "Branding"..very helpful!!

jack white

Pencil is really difficult to sell. Watercolor under glass is also. The glass is hard to ship and you have to deal with glare.

With acrylics and oils you can work on gallery wrap canvas and eliminate the cost of frames.

The top of the selling ladder is oils, then acrylics. If acrylics are easier then use them until you master painting and then if you wish you can switch to oils.

My email address is



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