I’m slowly getting back to hands on tasks, and I’m determined to break a barrier or two before the year is over.
It’s funny how I can happily mess about with painting abstract backgrounds / washes forever, and then I get stuck. Or any idea I might have doesn’t work out – probably because I’m so scared to ruin it that I overthink, and then paint over the failure with a new background. It’s quite clear I have a performance anxiety here that I don’t experience with photography, probably because I can’t trust my hands to be able to do what’s in my head, the craftsman part of it. And we all know how that part is achieved!
It mostly happens when I paint without a plan, which is what I’ve been trying out for a while. Just picking a set of colours and see what happens. Of course, it could be that I’m simply not suited for the so called intuitive approach. I do have several complete illustrations in my head, but they don’t even get started apart from some very preliminary sketches or even just descriptions. And I have a feeling they’re kinda blocking the doorway for any new ones…
So I’ve decided to just make them, force myself to begin – and if they’re no good, I can make them again. Totally new experience to me, I never did the same image twice. Or rehearsed them.
As for the backgrounds sitting in a pile, I’ll try to put anything on there now, even if it’s not what I think is my usual topic matter. For instance, even though I love gardens and take copious photos of flowers, I never considered myself a floral painter. But I quit resisting when all this canvas wanted was some poppies – now I just have to work on them a lot, as you can see they’re going through multiple stages before being even close to a sketch. (I was interrupted the other day, as usual. By the same person who interrupted me with the same painting a month ago, when I was doing the background! I just hope it won’t be another month before I get back to it – last time I completely forgot my actual plan with it. And well, the famous thumb and all…)
I don’t really wish to paint from life – that’s a camera thing for me. Painting is for the world inside my head.
I actually have a third hurdle, as if the first two weren’t enough. I never painted or drew people. I never take photos with people if I can help it, even as a tourist I wait until everybody is out of the frame before I click. But it appears that some of my “illustrations” have people in them. Which means I have to learn from scratch and develop a “style” if I want these images to live. It’s not going to be easy, I’m no good at people in any aspect. I even avoid mirrors.
I’m still not certain whether this new thing is really coming from me though, or if I’m simply influenced by all the mixed-media art journaling I’ve been seeing around. So the figures may or may not happen.
And that’s what I’ll be dedicating December to. No more touchy feely I’ll bloody well do what I feel like-a-day. I’ve got a job. Not like pretending to make art, no, this will be deliberate and planned destruction. Because I am in the mood and still nothing happens, as opposed to not really feeling like it but thinking you should.
All I know is, I spent many years doing just tedious jobs and nothing creative at all and I don’t like the person that turns me into – I don’t think anybody else does either. So I need to keep giving this as much space as possible, because even if it sounds like I struggle, it really is the only thing that keeps me alive. It doesn’t have to end with painting – after all it’s been on the shelf for 20 years while other crafts are more recent and perhaps more likely to yield “products” I’m happy to call finished. But just as I always considered myself a horse rider even when I didn’t ride for a decade, I still have this image of myself as someone who paints. Weird, huh?