Imagine that you and I are lounging around in my front room, on a comfy imaginary suede sofa and finishing off a bottle of dry white wine. Imagine that it’s some other season than the dead of winter, or we would be huddled in misery over an electric underblanket rather than lounging.
After looking around at all the half-finished paintings on my walls, you might ask me:
“M., your dedication to Clyfford Still borders on obsession and you blog about other artists, your balcony, and people’s handwriting. But you’re an artist, and this is supposed to be your art blog. Right? So where’s your art? Don’t tell us your portfolio at http://www.exiledstar.com, because there’s only like 4 pictures in it. Where are all the rest?”
You got me.
Here is my confession:
I’ve been creatively blocked for some time now.
Art is not like writing; you can’t force yourself to do it when it doesn’t “flow”. At least I can’t. Maybe I could if I were a representational artist whose only task were to put down what is in front of my eyes. But in abstraction, gesture is everything, flow is everything. If you try to force it, it looks forced, and that will ruin a painting.
So I wait. I do other stuff. I network. I look at other art hoping something will strike a spark. But it has been a dark, dry season. I got a slew of new painting titles from a link someone tweeted me – it was a link to a paper about alternative scientific theories – but so far those have not turned into paintings, though I have hoarded them away for later like a squirrel storing nuts.
What’s worse is that I am surrounded by the beauty of nature every day, and it fills me with longing to express some of what it makes me feel – but the expression is blocked.
The other reason for the relatively few paintings I have is that I keep destroying them. Every now and then I get an almost uncontrollable impulse to destroy my own work.
I have a painting right now that belongs to a friend. I am supposed to be varnishing it for him, but I see all the flaws in it and it is all I can do not to destroy it and paint him another one that would surely be better.
Here is one of my unfinished paintings.
I have started with some feeling of inspiration, gotten about halfway, and then floundered somehow – it just doesn’t feel done but I don’t know what more to do.
I don’t know if any of this makes sense to you.
Got questions? Comments? A stern lecture? Wine recommendations?
Do let me know in the comment box below.