Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ambition and Fear

I have managed to master the art of procrastination over the past couple of weeks. At least, I have done far more of this than painting... or even attempting to paint. However, I did make one today, an attempt that is, but it felt half-arsed.

Since returning from Perth I have, creatively, been stuck somewhere between ambition and fear. This kind of anxiety is ridiculous.

It's hard to explain the fear side of things... (the ambition is self explanatory); it's like I get so worked up about starting a new piece in case it may not work out the way I want it to - hell, I should know by now that they very rarely do, and that often the further away from the initial idea they are, sometimes the better the work ends up being... it's like some sort of self-evolving lucky-dip... but lately, more so than usual, I have been so nervous about starting something new - it's like I feel that my every move in the studio is being watched and criticised - when clearly, it's not, (or should I say the only one doing so is ME)... but somehow, stupidly, I allow this kind of fear to enter, be it to provide an excuse to procrastinate, or be it genuine anxiety driven fear... with the ridiculous thought that every mark I make on the canvas will be seen - when in reality, I don't have to show my work to anyone. If a piece does not work, or I am not happy with something, I do not have to present it to the public to be judged. I can paint over it in the privacy of my studio as if what's underneath never existed... I can even slash it or burn it if I so desire, and no-one else has to know.

It's such a weird state of mind. I wonder sometimes if it is laziness - this procrastination... but I have a genuine desire to be busy. I find myself frantically cleaning the house or doing other tasks that are indeed productive in other ways, but in no means towards my art.

I feel a little silly even writing about it but I am sure I will curiously re-read it with interest one day. Just as I am sure if I was to scroll back to any blog, diary or folio entries after previous exhibitions, I would probably see some sort of pattern in my way of thinking... perhaps it is just that 'post-exhibition confusion' that an artist can sometimes feel after a show. I am in no way feeling 'down' at the moment, I am, in fact, generally happy... just not very productive. I realise I am the only one who can change this and I truly hope me, myself and I get their act together soon.


Natalie said...

I totally understand this. I'm nowhere near as experienced or well known as you though, so I feel even more of a sham!

Oh art...

erinrichardson said...

It's resistance to change, I do the same thing, but don't feel the fear any more (and it used to be paralysing), I just procrastinate. So while procrastinating, I do something none threatening like watercolour studies. I manage to sneak up on the idea through another medium.

Works for me :)

Thanks for the twitter follow, following you back.

+Bel Johnstone+ said...

I think every artist goes through this way of thinking constantly! and if they don't they probably need a reality check. Your art is just obviously very important to you. I think the main thing to remember is to create art the way YOU would like too. that way your always true to yourself and won't worry about peoples reactions. good or bad :)

Anonymous said...

I feel exactly the same way right now. It's unusual for me...I'm a crazy maker, but the past few months have been hell and everything has felt so forced. I've given up trying and am just doing little things instead, so that I feel like I'm still partly engaged. I hope this stage passes quickly, for both of us! :)