– Going through that dark, insecure creative stage and like the Lorax picking yourself up by the tail and hightailing yourself out of there
I’m in the studio on a Sunday afternoon, the rain is falling steadily and I have my cup of tea in hand ready to take on whatever invites itself to dance with me. And writing a blog put up it’s hand first which I gladly take, because you see I felt I had an experience I wanted to share.
A few months ago I was in that dark place that will be familiar to many creatives, I’d had had a great year last year with my first international show and had so many engaging experiences through my artwork. This year was starting a little more lack luster and I was feeling I was putting my heart & soul into proposals that were being rejected left right and centre. I got to that place of why, what’s the point, perhaps it really isn’t worth still making art. But still I dragged my sorry behind into the studio and I’m there and I make marks and I spread paint around and I become engrossed in what I’m doing and then this little voice whispers in my ear “Rebecca what the hell?! This stuff feeds your soul, why would you deny yourself this experience (and man I wouldn’t want to live with you if your weren’t making creatively – just saying)“. So I decided at that moment that I needed to allow myself to just make, I had this opportunity to experiment in the studio with no expectation what so ever – I was ready to give myself permission to simply make art. I even wrote myself a proper proposal (just like I would to a gallery, museum or for funding) and within moments of sending that to myself I received a very charming acceptance letter back. ‘Go for it’ it said ‘knock yourself out and lets see where the journey takes you’. Boy was that the most awesome thing to do!
Just after giving myself permission, a friend and fellow artist put me on to The Jealous Curator (Danielle if you ever read this you’re awesome! Thanks for sharing, for talking to others, for being vulnerable and strong and human). So now most days when I’m in the studio Daniel (The Jealous Curator) joins me in my studio chatting with other artists and I’m talking back at the podcast saying things like “yep know how that feels”, “yes” “no way!” while I’m painting away. It becomes pretty clear after listening to a few of the podcasts what a shared experience these dark places are (and the joyful places too!). Then recently I discover ‘Big Magic – Creative living without fear’ by Elizabeth Gilbert and I laugh and nod and talk to her book as well (I really must get out more!) and find it so affirming.
So here I am, sitting in the studio on a rainy Sunday afternoon, surrounded by works in various states of finish, I have made since giving myself permission to (some I think are going to get a nice covering of think paint – they just ain’t rocking my boat – how exciting!) . They are all so different – different painterly expressions, different mark making, some narrative, some not. I am in a much better space to be making my art – what ever form it may take, and I am absolutely loving it! Don’t get me wrong I’ve always loved making art with all it’s ups and downs. But what I’m loving is this new found freedom to make without expectation – Which is why I am sharing, because I know we all have moments of self doubt, of questioning why we do it, but it really is up to ourselves to decide what place it holds in our lives and what we are willing to do to feed it – and of course giving ourselves permission to do so.
– So put your game face on and go forth!