I am actually going to post the following, not because I’m stupid, but because I want other artists out there to know that we all hit brick walls sometimes.
I wrote the following the other night as a private post. I do that sometimes. I use this blog as a kind of “Dear Diary” and do not make all the posts public since, believe it or not, I get even more personal than I already do. But I decided to publicize this rant and lay myself out on the train tracks.
Perhaps I am stupid. At least I won’t promote this. It will just sit here on the blog. No Tweeting or G+ing on this one.
There are no pretty pictures or links. Just feelings and private thoughts. I suppose I write like this in an effort to get myself through the fire and (hopefully) safely to the other side, but it doesn’t always work.
I am so fucking frustrated right now. It’s the third full day in a row that I spent my time on a painting that I am growing to dislike more and more, the more time I keep wasting on it. It feels like wasted time. The last two months feels like wasted time. I mean, I know it’s not. I’m just so upset, I feel like screaming. Screaming, then crying. Mostly crying. I always resort to crying. The anger only lasts so long. Since I know that, I just assume I skip right to the crying.
What’s going on? Why am I having such trouble? I mean, I know this is probably all part of the struggle and I need to experience it, but I don’t have the time. I am too impatient, which is part of the problem! You see, I know that part. But it doesn’t make it feel any less infuriating, being self-aware. It actually makes it worse; knowing what’s wrong with your car, but not having the tools to fix it. It sucks!
Not too long ago, I knew exactly what I was doing.
But this has been going on since I was in the middle of that God forsaken alef painting, Firmament. I’m so ready to throw that thing out of a giant window. I want to hear the large pieces glass breaking. I liked it, then I didn’t. It was working, then it wasn’t. I thought about it too much, then I asked too many people what they thought about it until I got a balance of good crits and shitty ones and now I just feel like crap about it. Uncertain. Frozen. Advice is no good.
Well, that’s not all together true. I was able to get some good advice from Trine about how to move on to the next two paintings, so that was great. I’m trying one with no journaling on the paper, and one where I am definitely going to expose the writing and sketching. Trying to do “both” on one painting was obviously impossible. It was actually crazy. I must have thought I lived in another dimension where the physical universe laws didn’t exist. That was driving me insane. That’s at least no longer making me crazy.
Also, I can’t bring the writing back any more than I have on that painting, so fate has decided that one for me. If fate hadn’t, I’m not sure I would have been able to make a decision!
I can’t even believe I am still writing about this stupid painting. I have never had so much trouble! This has never happened to me before.
That’s not true. I remember almost going mad about 20 years ago during a painting. Finishing it was torture and I nearly lost all of my sanity trying to get through it. Oh my God, I don;t even want to think about that painting. I’m so glad it’s gone. But at least I liked it when I finished it and was pretty certain it worked. I just practically wanted to die painting it.
Isn’t painting fun?
The picture I have been working on for the past two days, and several weeks before, is that abstract landscape. I remember when I was so inspired. When I was excited and starry-eyed. I couldn’t wait to get those canvases at Blick so I could get back here and start working on this thing. I was HAPPY. Where is all that happiness now? It’s turned into utter pain and discouragement. Disappointment is more like it. It is turning out nothing like I imagined. I mean, paintings never do, but they at least have an inkling of your original idea. This just looks like a pile of steaming crap, yet I keep messing with it and trying to make it better – and that’s just the thing: I’m TRYING. I shouldn’t do that! I KNOW not to do that. But here I am.
Okay, go back to the beginning.
New American Paintings.
I was looking through past issues of New American Paintings, which inspires the hell out of me, Every time! I always find amazing artists that I love, love, love and all it makes me want to do it paint. It gets me excited and impatient, like a little kid. I want to waste no time and get to work before I get old and die or get hit by a bus.
And I spot an artist in particular – Lisa Sanditz – and I seriously have no idea that she’s hot shit and shows with ACME – which I later find out. I just love her work straight off the bat. I go to her website and see a lot more paintings that I like even more.
She paints abstract landscapes. Something I had been thinking of doing for a long time, yet here she is. She’s doing it. And this sort of thing happens all the time to everyone. You have an idea and you don’t get off your ass and do it, then someone else comes along and does it before you. Well, this was the case, and she didn’t just do it, she did it in a way that floored me. I loved it! And of course, this kind of thing has been done before, she’s just doing it in her style.
Of course, I have my own hand and my own style, so I thought, I would like to do this with some Joshua Tree scenes, and start with some pictures that I took as beginning references, then just branch out and make it nonsensical from there.
I can do that, right?
I’m too tight, it’s too cartoony, it’s not the way I want it, I just can’t paint. I can’t PAINT!
And now I feel like I am trying too hard, trying to fit everything into a little “Exodus” box. It makes me want to spit! It makes me want to cry.
I just want to carry on with what makes me happy right now. I think I’m not up for a challenge at the moment. I’m too overwhelmed.
…yet I have spent all this time the past couple days working on this picture? Ha! I obviously want to. Something about it. There’s something about it that I want to explore. I just feel like I
And I’m stuck between the minimal and the expressive. I want to do both. I mean, I can. Nothing is stopping me. Just me.
And why am I stopping me? I’m stressing myself out. I don’t know if what I’m doing is…stupid. I even have my doubts about calling myself a serious artist. I mean, I’m serious alright. I’m an “artist.” I make “art.” I am creative. I have ideas. But skills and talent? I’ve never had those. Not really.
I think I just needed to vent.