I think I know what’s happened.
A combination of:
~ looking at too many other people’s work (no matter how inspiring, looking is not doing)
~ thinking too much (the downfall of the genius sadly)
~ and not wanting to produce anything that isn’t a ‘work of art’. (Did Flora teach me NOTHING about process?!)
I am currently suffering from a lack of confidence in my artistic abilities; my technical skills have never been more than quite good, and frankly I’m out of practice. I feel like I’m cheating if I’m breaking the rules without having fully grasped them. To break the rules you must first know them, right? (Mind you, I think I USED to know them…)
So I’ve noticed many artists can do incredible colourful abstracts (which may not need drawing skills but require an understanding of balance and colour), and then also turn out a fabulous portrait (for example) with realism and accuracy.
I can draw. Just not very well. And I can copy, but who wants to be a copy cat? I want to be me, not a half baked version of someone else!
Also, and most concerningly to me, I feel very strongly lately that none of my paintings have any real depth to them. They often seem to come out like the froth on a cappuccino – quite yummy perhaps, but essentially just air.
I have definitely gone way too far down the path of taking it all a Bit Too Seriously, but even having backtracked to the crossroads I find that I can’t escape the certainty that I am not ‘telling the truth’ with my paintings.
Deep down I think I know the answer – practice practice practice. Stop trying to make each piece a sellable masterpiece. Play more. Maybe take a class. Chill out!
But first, this. I’m telling you this so you can hold me accountable (ick, but it needs to be done). Starting today:
1. I’m going to not look at anyone else’s art for one week. No blogs, no Flickr, no Pinterest, no inspiration folder, nada. (Anything I see by mistake doesn’t count.)
2. I will spend every day of this week that I don’t have to be doing something else in the studio. Painting. (Ha, I bet you thought I did this already! Actually no.)
Now obviously you won’t know if I’m cheating or not, but I will know, and now that you know, my conscience won’t let me cheat. It’s all very complex. :)
Please feel free to share any thoughts or words of encouragement for my week of immersion. :) This could go one of two ways…
I’m optimistic though. (yeah!) The idea just arrived my head, which is always a good sign – inspiration rather than forcing the thought using logic. And I get a strong sense that some interesting stuff is going to come up… I’ll keep you posted when I come up for air!