Just Do It

Not a post sponsored by Nike, rather a note about getting round a creative block and getting a grip.

'Cusco' (Detail), Gouache on Paper, 16.5 x 23.4 in

As I mentioned recently in my post about impostor syndrome in the art sphere, for the past few weeks I've been feeling a huge resistance towards any sort of art making. I'd get some ideas, but they'd largely fizzle out in my mind before I took action on any of them. None of them felt good enough to justify the effort of getting out my painting paraphernalia, so instead I focused on writing, research and general admin, anything to avoid actually creating.

Creative blocks are like fruits on the edge of going moldy - the more you ignore them, the more they fester and taint everything around them.

So, in a festering self-perpetuating cycle, I just couldn't bring myself to make any new work, which made me feel like a fraud and a failed artist, which murdered my motivation to paint etc. etc. etc. 

In 'Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking', David Bayles highlights the need to identify and move past resistance that shows up in the form of a creative block or lack of motivation. He mentions the phenomenon of 'the painter who doesn't paint', which is a label I dread carrying. At the moment I don't worry too much about what others think of my work, bit I am terrified of becoming someone who constantly talks about things they've made or want to make, but is never seen actually taking action and doing the work. 

Sensing that this could be a real possibility if I kept on procrastinating, I decided that enough was enough and even if it ended up straight in the bin, I was going to paint something. Anything.

To be honest I didn't have any ideas, let alone good ones, going in to this painting, although I did have some images fresh in my mind, from some recent work I've been doing on Latin American art and culture. 

Somehow the image of Peru popped into my mind, then La Paz, Bolivia, and I painted two abstract compositions which represented the locations in my own visual language. Turns out, I actually really missed the process of painting, once I'd gotten over the first self-sabotaging hurdle, and although not exactly well-though out masterpieces, I like how the paintings turned out, especially 'Cusco'.

Painting with a sense of freedom and fluidity made my inner world feel less cramped, and I'm hoping this is the start of a new painting season.

'La Paz' (Detail), Gouache & Watercolour on Paper, 16.5 x 23.4 in

The image in my mind as I was painting - I hope I did this colour palette justice | 'Drying Wool'| © chany crystal/Flickr | Creative Commons Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

'Cusco', Gouache & Watercolour on Paper, 16.5 x 23.4 in