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.
I’d love to, but for some reason the photo won’t load on my phone. Do you do contact work?
The photo won’t load? Hmm, I wonder why. I can try uploading it again.
What do you mean by contact work? I’m barely awake at the moment.
Oh that really is lovely. Thank you!
My earlier comment was supposed to say contract. Sorry for auto-correct moment.
Do you mean do I paint custom pictures for people who want them? I am capable of so doing.
That is exquisite. It does need something… maybe a silhouette of something / someone in the foreground? (says she who knows nothing of art…)
*typo fixed by MKH*
The great thing about art is that you don’t need to know anything about it to have an opinion. The “experts” are just people who have seen a lot of art and know how to categorize it. Their opinions aren’t otherwise better than anyone else’s. Some of them are very silly people indeed, actually.
I strongly believe that it’s up to each person to decide what a piece of art means, and that everyone’s opinion is equally valid.
Thank you for this 🙂 I love the way you see life!
Hmm. You can’t be referring to my view of life as a grim, dark vale of tears, so you must be referring to my belief in human equality.
I work in a very elitist business, and I think that has made me even more aware of how horrid elitism really is. Whatever I can do to empower the non-elite, I’m happy to do.
Can I ask a couple of question before I comment?…………short pause……..Moves on to questions, anyhoot.
Whats more important; the process or the finished piece? Does destroying a painting make you feel better or just leaving you questioning what it is you do and why you do it? Or. Is there another question I should be asking?
I don’t know if the process or the finished piece is more important. After destroying them, I feel a cathartic sense of relief, but also regret for what I’ve done. The relief ebbs away but the regret grows as time goes on.
I think that sums up what most artist go through. It is the one common thread which connect disciplines – visual arts, writers, composers, musicians and so on. You as i probably know of artist who receive critical acclaim, and despite, still feel they are floundering, that the work is not doing it for them. Then one day something clicks, there work suddenly changes direction, 360 in most cases. They found what they were looking for. And its different for everyone I suppose. From here, to me, it looks like the process is more important, Not the process of painting but rather the process of creating shtufffs. You happened somewhere along the way, to fall in love with the brush, paint, colour and canvas as the.vehicle. Where the choice of others is that of steel, video or words or sounds. To be honest I think I write this to myself than to you in some regards. And it sounds a little heady and a little deep (some would remark, ‘dah, like deep in crap, lol).
All I really can comment on is what I see when I look at this painting and at the subsequent images you since posted. My comments will in all likelihood not come close to where you are coming from. I like the colours which seem to be used to express phenomena that occur around you and around me -we all have shared experience. There is energy here -explosions of light, colour – leading to a moment or snap shot. The end painting serves as memento to the what happened during the process. I do wish I could see the surface, as I suspect it holds a lot of interest of it’s own. Definitely done at the hands of someone with passion. The paintings as well as the blog is good shtufffs.
*Curious. When you destroy a painting do ever put it back together?
Construct, Deconstruct, Re-construct.
sorry for the rambling on
Hudson Howl, you are a wonderful commenter. Please ramble on my blog as often as possible.
Ahh, I see why you commented on my blog that we are going through much the same thing.
We will get through this! And your work is beautiful!
Why thank you!
Oh, and PS, lounging about with you in your front room, sharing a bottle of wine and discussing art sounds awesome!
I so rarely get to do that in real life. It’s nice to be able to (sort of) do it online. 😀