Category: art

A Halo and an Attitude WIP

Continuing my pattern of more art sharing, here’s the progress on the sketch I showed you last entry. Ms. Tude is coming along nicely and despite her small size at 5×7 inches, she’s holding her own.

For this image I’m testing out the new illustration board from Strathmore called the 500 Series Wet Media Board, which has been sized specifically to suit the needs of wet media. I’ve always had a problem with the paint drying too fast or the surface not absorbing enough hue to make such effects like salt blooms work consistently on regular cold press illustration board. I’ve also had issues with the vibrancy of colors being somewhat less brilliant than watercolor paper. I’m happy to report this new board seems more absorbent-friendly. I’ve been abusing it with wet-in-wet techniques and salt crystals without much sign of buckling or problems with color vibrancy.

The layering continues and I’ll be back next entry with the completed painting and the final verdict on the wet media board.

Sketch Dump – Halos

Thought you guys might enjoy a sneak peek into things I’m working on plus art!

This week, the topic of my project is the halo. Halo comes from the Latin halōs or nimbus, meaning cloud, round, circle, sun, and moon. While the Greek origination meant threshing floor. In modern language, it has evolved to interchangeably act as both a verb and a noun, meaning to surround, or to give an atmosphere of sanctity, alongside other various meteorological implications.

As for art, the representations of halos seem endless in variety, from the solid metallic rings in medieval paintings to the more subtle implied halos formed by light in modern works. In exploring this topic, I’ve come to realize that halos are far more than the stereotypical golden ring that comes standard issue with harp. One can even go as far as to examine the ornate decorations of Buddhist mandalas for halo inspiration. Many divine beings are surrounded by a decorative accent, or halo, across the art of many cultures.

And now the promised art!

This first sketch is a combination of spot illustrations of various types of halos, from the implied to the pattern-inspired barbed wire one. The star halo you see was inspired by art nouveau, which was itself inspired similarly by religious imagery depicting the Lady of the Apocalypse, who was symbolized by the figure of Mary crowned by 12 stars. As you can see, the possibilities for halos are limited only by our imagination!

Next is a little painting I’ll be working on to illustrate how to create a halo from radiating lines. She was really only meant to be a minor character illustrated for this purpose, but I’ve fallen in love with her attitude.

My musical inspiration for this topic was Noose by A Perfect Circle. Some inspirational lyrics for you. (I’m morbid, I know):

With heaven’s help
You’ve cast your demons out
And not to pull your halo down
Around your neck and tug you off your cloud
But I’m more than just a little curious
How you’re plannin’ to go about makin’ your amends
To the dead

Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll have a few more random factoids and painting progress to show! I hope you have enjoyed this interlude of artistic meandering.

I find it funny that the scientific definition of ‘halo’ as a prefix stands for salt or sea. It really mixes up the mental images for a halo in a weird way!

Only In Our Dreams: The Denigration of Fantasy

I remember a time in college when I found myself so incredibly frustrated by my homework and completely lost as to what to do with myself. I wanted to draw angels and elves, not splatter paint on a canvas and call it art. I didn’t want to tear up little bits of my journal entries, stick them in jars, and talk about how this was a wonderfully artistic bearing of my soul. This sort of expression just wasn’t me. My personal issues were for friends and family only. Why should I put them in jars for other people to puzzle over? Why should I abandon my long beloved symbols that I was impassioned for? Why, all the sudden, did fantasy become invalid as a form of expression in a School of Fine Art?

I understand the answer now that I have completed school and had a great deal of time to ponder my frustration. If I didn’t experiment outside of my comfort zones, I never would have discovered the joy of experimentation and how this has enriched my ability to express myself. Sticking to a single genre and never exploring has a way of stagnating your work, your art, and your inspiration. Still, I never forgot the eyeroll that came with admitting to some that I was an avid lover of fantasy. This extended not only to the art community, but to the writing community as well. My love of exaggerated descriptions and epic tales did not go over so well in my Creative Writing classes either.

So why is it that Fantasy, as a genre, is no longer seen as ‘High Art’ by the intellectual majority? Somewhere over the years we seemed to have lost our appreciation of the paintings of dryads, Naiads, and all manner of mythological folk. The Knight and the Dragon, the Damsel in the Tower, the Unlikely Hero Versus the Orc/Goblin/Dark Wizard, it’s all been liquified, told, and retold again till it has no meaning, no impact anymore. The magic of the myths has faded to a passing fancy, a colorful tale to be told and pondered and thrown away. Perhaps because people no longer believe in faeries or the wrath of the gods? Perhaps because these roles (or rather the execution of them), as Joseph Campbell prescribes, are no longer relevant to our modern society who crave something updated? Perhaps because we no longer need illustrated stories to teach us about the mysteries of the universe?

We are no longer the illiterate adult majority who used art to experience the emotion and morals of stories. There are few of us who remember the meaning of flowers or the very specific numerology of medieval imagery. Even for those of us who do study these symbols, the spiritual influence is not as fervent as those in the past who relied heavily on the act of venerating art in order to understand the passion and morals passed on by the stories these illustrative paintings were inspired by.

These days, we can pick up books ourselves without having to rely on the teachings of provocative images. We are told by art historians what pieces deserve our respect. Is that why there is a division between ‘low brow’ Fantasy and ‘high brow’ Romantic art? Because we are told there is? Or maybe there’s just too much out there so we’ve truly lost touch with the uniqueness of these original pieces? I always found it amusing that a modern artist could paint a dryad, but it would only be seen as Fantasy, while older paintings of the same subject are classified as “Romantic” and somehow more classical and valid. Like Duchamp, who first set a commode on a pedestal and called it art, no one can ever do such a thing again without being compared to the first person who had the great idea to do something different.

Perhaps Fantasy is merely escapism? A way for us to experience idealistic morals, beautiful figures, and perfectly rounded narratives? I, personally, find this definition an oversimplification of a genre capable of so much more. True, there is an element of escapism, but to say that’s all there is to it seems an understatement. Fantasy presents a way for us to tap into various parts of ourselves, a fear of the unknown, an indulgence of what we can and cannot do, as well as a way for us to reveal stories that tap into that long dormant sense of wonder and primal fear we remember only in our dreams.

In this modern (or is it post-modern?) era, we’ve given up the purity of genre and married things like Fantasy to Drama, Comedy with Horror, and have truly pushed the definitions that have kept things like ‘Fantasy’ from becoming respected art forms. I can only hope that strolling down the street, I’ll see more museum exhibitions like this one and more stories of a fantastical nature working their way into academia.

Just a bundle of questions for you guys to ponder. Whatever the reason for the denigration of Fantasy, I am content knowing I am not alone in its appreciation, that there are others who, for whatever reason, arrive at the conclusion there is more to its richness than bulging heroes, pretty ladies, repetitive epics, and hard to pronounce names.

Image: “The Lady of Shalott” by John Waterhouse.

Are Artists Crazy?

Now attempting to get this blog back onto it’s usual Wednesday/Sunday schedule. I’ve been so tied up in conventions and deadlines I’ve neglected any sort of regular schedule. But I’m back and ready to ramble!

For this week, I thought I’d bring to light an amusing conversation between my boyfriend and I. He has come to the conclusion from dating me that…artists are crazy.

Not like cut up your husband and serve them as pie crazy, but just on a different wavelength than most usual people. Of course, my own point of view is a little different, stemming from my idea that talent is something that is more trained than inherent. My defense against artists being loonies is that we’re no different than anyone else with a passion for what they love to do. Is passion so rare these days that it’s considered crazy?

Artists, and creative people in general, live their lives with one eye open always seeking to learn, improve, or to see something unique in the mundane. Like mathematicians, we seek symbols and some form of order in chaos that’s expressible by the living hand, the writing, the painting, or the pen. I’m no different than my boyfriend, who spends hours obsessing over countless numbered sequences, hardware compatibility issues, and the tiny systems of circuits that form the interconnected body of the computer. He finds joy in that kind of chaos. I merely obsess over how to better capture human expression, the methods for mixing colors, and how to build better compositions.

Spending hours trying to figure out why a computer won’t accept a wireless router signal, now THAT’s crazy to me. I’d rather just toss it at my boyfriend and be done with it. Having that amount of insane patience is crazy, to me.

Yet even in the movies, I see the stereotypes. Artists are the tragic figures, the aloof lovers, the serial killers, the crazies with their heads in the clouds. Are we really that scary? Does it taking cutting off one’s ear or dying of a drug overdose to truly complete our identities as artists? Or can we be just as approachable as other normal people?

And yet, I can understand the idea that artists just don’t fit into certain social situations. During my training as an Arts Administrator, it was amusing to see the differences between accountants, actors, and art directors. There’s a definite shift in focus from ‘budget’ to ‘vision’ and an effort to balance sense and creativity into a cohesive whole. Similarly, I have many relatives who just don’t understand why I’m willing to take a dangerous path of uncertain paychecks over using my perfectly competent computer skills to pursue working as a secretary instead.

I suppose I like the danger of the creative edge and the ability to do something I truly love. Drawing is like a drug for me. If I don’t do it within three days, I start to get antsy and doodle on napkins. If I can’t do something creative with myself, I feel pretty useless. I can’t sit and watch TV at night without having my hands busy with a project. I don’t listen to music unless it inspires some sort of mental image for a story or a drawing (though on occasion I’ll love music just for its mood or beat).

Perhaps that’s what makes me that non-homicidal brand of ‘crazy’? I notice I tend to be drawn towards other people of the same creative spirit, or those who have a similar appreciation for the side of life that invites one to think beyond the norm. I have friends who aren’t artists and friends who are, but all of us share a love for the odd side of things.

For me, where’s the fun in life if you’re just striving to survive? The human mind is capable of so much more.

Maybe I am a little crazy. I look up at the sky and think what a lovely shade of Cobalt Blue or Light Cerulean it is today.

Perhaps that is not normal?

What sorts of stereotypes of creative people have you seen or experienced? How do your significant others deal with your creative side? Let us talk and be mad together.

The Future This Way Comes

I’ve not been able to sleep for a few nights lately. Here I am again toiling in this journal when I should be sleeping. The past few months of conventions have been a sobering, and inspiring, few. So many questions have been echoing around in my head.

Will I be able to work as an artist for a living? Will all this hard work pay off? Where is my next job going to come from? How can I improve as an artist? How can I keep up with competition when there are so many awesome people out there?

And more importantly, what’s my plan now?

That thought is a disturbing one at times because I feel like I can only half answer the question, being one who is perpetually learning the ropes of trying to make it as a professional artist. I fear the slightest thing will cause my efforts to crumble. Yet, I have to remind myself that little achievements ARE worth something, even if I’m not quite in the ‘big leagues’ just yet. The tables I’ve been running at conventions have made just enough to cover the costs. The next few fairs and conventions are bound to only improve as I learn and evolve how I want to present myself to the world.

Every flower starts with a seed and every professional started off at this level. It’s a mantra I have to repeat to myself over and over. Even when there’s a mountain of things to do that threaten to bury my resolve. The Pyramaids began with a single brick (and lots of slave labor, but I don’t quite have that luxury).

I sense something just beyond my fingertips on the horizon, some whisper of hope brushing my fingerstips. Several of the projects I have been working on are slowly eking their way into existence. Plans for new series of artwork that really push my limits as an artist are in the works, and my eventual plan to branch into authorship as an author-illustrator are beginning to take shape as well. After so many years of searching, I have finally found the stories I want to tell, even if I’m not quite sure yet how I want to portray them or if I’m skilled enough to portray them to the standard of illustrative quality I want to be at.

It feels like with all this preparation and toiling that I hardly have time to feed the creative soul. I really plan to release the beast with these new series, but there is no time for them at the present while I am working on paying projects and on organizing the business side of things.

That fear of the future can be paralyzing too, especially when you take time away from feeding your creativity to pay homage to the baser elements of being a professional. Unlike a mere job, however, this one is tied inextricably to my need to create and to be happy. If I fail, will that die too? If I delve too deeply into the ‘mechanical’ side of making money, will that creative spirit fade?

And while I dance from foot to foot trying to figure it all out, will my future pass me by in the meantime, wondering why I’m late to the party and showing up in mismatched socks?

So I do what helps me feel like I’m in control. I make lists and feel like I am achieving something as I mark each task off:

– Get Amazon shop running
– Buy art fair displays and wireless credit card charger
– Finish the semi-secret book project
– Hit the art fair world by storm and make the old ladies cry!
– Figure out where to start with this whole licensing deal
– Take over the world!
End this blog and go to bed.

Well that’s one off the list at least! What do you guys have in mind for your lists at the moment?

DragonCon Diary 09 – The Calm Before the Storm

Diary Entries Thus Far:
Dragon Con Diary 09: Pre-Con Prep
Dragon Con Diary 09: To Charge or Not to Charge?
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Rush Begins
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Calm Before the Storm
Dragon Con Diary 09: Matting Madness!
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Aftermath
Dragon Con Diary 09: Video & Photo Stream

It’s been a quiet week on this blog and for that, I apologize. Life has a way of catching up to us and it doesn’t help that I decided to take on the task of entering a contest at the very last minute. I took a quick break from convention prep to try for the OnAngels Magazine art & literature contest, where they have promised to match the prize money for a charity or college department, and I honestly love the school fundraising ideas they have. It was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. If you’re curious to see my entries for it, you can spy me at the bottom of the entrants page.

Now, it’s back to the grind, and back to flailing and trying to get things done for Dragon Con and AWA! All while still keeping up with deadlines and commissions. The lists continue to shrink and evolve and look something like this now:

Things I’ve finished:

  • Applied for the EIN, but now it seems they’re taking a long time to get back to me about what my number is. If I can’t get it sorted out, than I may have to take cash only for a little bit longer.


  • Finished 3 sets of cameo necklaces with matching earrings. They were super fun to make, so expect more, once I find a good wholesale source for supplies. (Sneaky peek of necklaces).


  • Finished the contest entry, which will also be doubling as the centerpiece painting for my Dragon Con display. (Sneaky peek of the painting, a special treat for those who watch this blog)


  • I don’t have time to make the brochures I’d planned, so I made little magnets with a picture and my website on them instead.


  • All my prints are bagged, tagged, and ready for new homes!


The Current Workload

  • Working on more glass tile art pendants. I’ll be gussying them up with Swavroski crystals and other shiny beads.


  • Also gussying up matboard with acrylic paint and sponge texture to make some unique mats for display. I’ll be custom painting some of the mats with acrylic too.


  • Drawing out the design for the Dawn mask I’ll be making out of leather. It will be my first try at a mask and is inspired by the Comedy/Tragedy theme of Linsner’s comic. There might also be chains, roses, and rhinestones involved. I still have the wrist rose to figure out. I’m thinking floral wire and a fake rose. I’ve finally bought the perfect bodice to go with the outfit.


Things that still need doing!

  • 3 ceramic charity pigs still need to be designed.


  • Saving the matting for last, as usual. I’m waiting on a v-grooving tool I ordered so I can do my own decorative matting.


  • What am I forgetting???


Things are wrapping up quite nicely and I’m very hopeful for a successful con! Once the con arrives, I’m hoping to continue blogging as things happen and also might bring the camcorder along to document the chaos.

Right now, it’s only the calm before the storm!

Resources – Watercolors


– Check out my latest offerings at Esty. Lots of new pendants up! Plus a special offer for those on DeviantART.

– New paintings in my Fantasy & Scifi Gallery

+ Verdant Muse
+ Angel of Purity

Lately, I’ve been brushing up on my reading to make sure my skills are sharp for my current projects and it struck me that I should put my obsessive-compulsive researching to good use! I have a fortunate (or unfortunate) habit of collecting art books, links, and all manner of things and figured I would share what I have with you all. In turn, I hope you will suggest other good sources so I can add them to my lists!


Painting Weathered Buildings in Pen, Ink, and Watercolor by Claudia Nice
Nice’s books on watercolors are some of the best I’ve seen with plenty of suggestions on how to create textures in watercolor by blending media, using rubbing alcohol, sewing threads, and plenty of unexpected things!

Creating Textures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor by Claudia Nice
More of the same quality as the last book with tons of illustrations and a focus on creating natural forms and textures.

Dreamscapes: Creating Magical Angel, Faery & Mermaid Worlds In Watercolor by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
This is technically meant for fantasy artists, but I find that the techniques concerning texture and design are applicable to all artists interested in watercolors. Flipping through the full color pages jammed with fantastical creatures always gets me inspired. Pui-Mun’s work also possesses a particular grace that’s often absent in most fantasy-themed art instruction books,which are generally very cartoonish with generic character designs.


The Handprint Watercolor Guide – An excellent, extensive, and easy to understand guide about everything from brushes to paints and methods.

The National Watercolor Society – A great place to consider joining. They host open exhibitions, activities, and other such things that are good for career building. – A handy compilation of images, info, and free tutorials.


Bob Davies’ Tutorials – An awesome beginner’s video tutorial by bob Davies. Be sure to check out the rest of his easy to understand tutorials on watercolors, watercolor pencils, etc. I really enjoyed his voice and laid back sense of humor as well.

Watercolor Tutorial by Clap-San – A glimpse into doing a more light and airy style with watercolor by DeviantARTist, Clap-san.

Want more? Keep an eye on the Resources Section of my forum. Suggest your own resources too! What are your personal favorite resources concerning watercolors?

Talent vs. Training

Da Vinci, Mozart, Durer…

We all know the names of these geniuses who exist on that level above everyone else. There talent simply is, an untouchable level of perfection that we can never hope to achieve.

Or is it?

As a young artist, I would stare at the works of Linda Bergkvist, John William Waterhouse, and Edward Burne-Jones and think to myself, “Gosh, I will never be that good. Why am I even trying?” There was something sublime and unattainable in their art that I felt I could never reach no matter how hard I tried.

As I grew older and wiser, I entered into the art program at university and was exposed to the flurry of line, shape, form, texture, and color that make up the rudimentary foundation for the whole of visual arts. It was true that there were some students who were better than others, but it soon became very apparent that even the worst student among us could be fantastic if they pushed themselves to practice and the best of us could get a failing grade if we became lazy and complacent and didn’t do our homework or strive to be more original in our thinking than what was required.

Also, it wasn’t simply the act of practicing either that led to improvement, but the combination of repetition in addition to the presence of a good teacher. An effective teacher can help translate the mysteries of the universe into a language you can understand. When we train ourselves, we are left to unravel the mysteries on our own and may not learn as quickly as we would have if we had guided direction by someone who has already been through the learning process. Teachers can show us the golden moments of realization that happened for them so that we might learn from theirs and arrive at our own realizations of understanding.

I say this because I’ve had so many other artists and friends look to me and say “I’ll never be that good,” or simply sigh and give up under the weight of what it takes for them to get from the point they’re at now to the level they want to be at. They all had the mindset that everyone was so much better, when we can be just as good if we work at it. A hard truth is that there will always be someone better than you because all artists are continuously improving, including the ones that came before and are already established in the industry.

Personally, I am not a believer in natural talent, of people who can just draw and have a masterpiece right off the bat. I define talent less as the ability to draw well and more the ability to come up with the idea that’s out of the box and to combine that idea with the expressive act of realizing it in painting, drawing, sculpting, or what have you. The true talent is in having the patience to push yourself to study and draw again and again and again until you’ve united the idea with the act of expressing it physically.

I have never seen a successful artist, or anyone in a creative craft for that matter, who isn’t 5% natural talent and 95% pure drive to succeed. If you have, than I guarantee they had an early exposure to that craft thanks to very encouraging parents.

So the next time you find yourself staring at another artist’s work and feeling insignificant while placing that artist on the pedestal of “thou has has recieveth talent without effort”, remember that they’ve probably had their own sleepless nights of staring at the art of someone they respected as well and practicing until their hands cramped.

We all have our nights of sighing and dreaming. Even now, I still sit, chin in hand, and stare at the work of Da Vinci and Kuniko Craft and think to myself “When will my time come?”

Still, perhaps it’s the dreaming that keeps us motivated to succeed?

Late Spring Cleaning & Other News

With the last days of Spring nearing and the onset of Summer, it’s time for that annual compulsive urge for Spring Cleaning! Out with the old, in with the new! (Or perhaps it’s the fact that it’s getting really hot here in Georgia and I am less compelled to go outside). That means I’ve finally sat down and done some things I’ve been meaning to do. Including, but not limited to the following:

– Finally made the following prints available as Limited Editions through Angelic Shades:

– The very same prints are now available in my DeviantART and Zazzle shops as various products. The Zazzle post cards and calendars are even more awesome than DA’s because I can customize the backs and add text. The calendars are also available with various colors for the wire binding and in three different sizes. Here’s just a sampling of what I have available on Zazzle:

make custom gifts at Zazzle

– I recently sat and made a Google calendar of what convention art shows I’m hoping to participate in. There’s not much on it now, but I hope to have a full schedule soon once I do a bit MOAR research. If you know of any good shows accepting fantasy themed work, do drop me a line! Right now, I’m aiming for San Diego Comicon, Dragon Con, and Anime Weekend Atlanta for certain.

– Speaking of Dragon Con, the great convention rush begins bright and early! I’ve never really had a table space that wasn’t sad and amateurish. I’m currently researching ways to make a winning table display that doesn’t look like I’ve propped it up on some cardboard boxes with a home printed banner. Any tips from anyone out there about what makes a successful table? So far I’ve got grid cubes and…well…that’s it.

Still a long way to go before I’ll be ready for Dragon Con’s Artist Bazaar, but that’s why I’m starting early!

Has the Spring Cleaning bug hit anyone else these days? I always find it refreshing to get those nagging tasks done so I can get back to the arting.

Overcoming Graduation Fear

This journal has been a little quiet of late thanks to that lovely time of the year I like to call the ‘graduation rush’, as well as my own pressing deadlines that have had me resembling a freshly bitten zombie.

Sitting inside the very same hall my own graduation was held in had me thinking on how this time last year I was so full of excitement at entering a whole new world of possibility, but also overcome with a dread that I would never be able to find my place in the world.

Graduating from college with the prospect of job searching is a fearful time, especially with the downturn in the economy. When I graduated, I was so afraid that all I would be able to find would be a retail job at a book store. Every other job in my area of study seemed to want me to work for free as an intern or was just too far away with a pay rate that would barely cover my gas costs. I felt like such a loser living at home to save money on paying rent. I was afraid of being trapped at home never able to fulfill my potential and eventually losing myself to the malaise of a retail or office job doing something I found only half interesting just so I could pay the bills.

You’re not alone, graduates, everyone feels this way and I am here to tell you that the one thing you need to be fighting is Fear. If you are in the creative industry, I’m here to tell you it is not pretty. You will have to work even when you don’t feel like working. Particularly if you’re running your own studio or managing yourself as a freelancer, it will take time and effort and focus.

But don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s impossible.

If you have to get a job temporarily to pay your loans and expenses, don’t forget to dedicate a couple of hours a night to your craft and your organization. Take a weekend to work even if you’re feeling tired and just want to rest. Just because you may work slower than if you did your craft full time does not mean you’re making no progress at all. It may take longer, but it’s better than always sitting and wishing you had done something and regretting the fact you never took action for yourself.

Do not live your life by always asking yourself “What if…”

If you’re lacking in technical skills, try taking some online classes or night courses. If you don’t have the money, try looking up tutorials online, in magazines, or (gasp!) in that dusty old place full of old people that you never go to (aka. The Library). Nothing beats free knowledge and half the time you can learn exactly what you could from a class by reading a book, if you’re unable to afford the time and money it takes for training. There are some great e-learning courses available at SCAD and the Art Institute as well.

And just so you know, you don’t really even need a degree to write a book, work as a painter, or as an illustrator. These professions can be self-taught, though it is always helpful to have training to aid in your learning and to make connections in the creative community. In lieu of school (if you can’t afford it), why not try joining sketch groups, societies, clubs, or online communities? Having a degree does NOT make you automatically smarter or better than those who don’t.

On one final note, there is nothing at all wrong with living at home. Most of us feel ashamed at living at home, at first. I know I did…almost 30 and still at home! It took some swallowing of pride for me to do it. But really, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking the logical route and staying at home longer to save money so you won’t be struggling and living from paycheck to paycheck just so you can have a place to call your own.

This mentality can trap you in a way of living you don’t like just because you’re trying so desperately hard to preserve that little bit of space. Why do it if you have parents who love you and don’t mind you living at home so they can give you a chance at a brighter future? This really is one of the best ways to save money for the future. More and more people are doing it as the rate of students graduating with excessive loan debt continues to rise and entry level job salaries become less able to support the cost of living on one’s own.

The world is full of opportunities if you can overcome that niggling fear of the unknown, the fear of being unable to act, and the fear of your own skills not being good enough. You’re not alone in your trepidation.

The only one holding you back is yourself and the consequences of your actions.