Time to Push?
I've really struggled to know where to go with this latest blog and I've been asking myself why?
It isn't as though I ceased creating art, it's something that fills almost every day of every week...so why the block??
I've been considering this again today and have reflected upon the art I've been creating. What I noticed was that there were subtle signs of depression and low energy in several of the pieces. Was this due to the Covid pandemic, I wondered??
I'd actually enjoyed the reduced traffic, the break from the exhibiting, the increased sense of time. I've always been most comfortable when in my own company...being quite shy and lacking in confidence...not that many would realise that...
Yes, there have been stressors. My husband has been working from home since the start of the pandemic and now intends on continuing to do so for the majority of time. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't wish him out the house...after all I have my studio to work from. However, his being around did change the dynamics within the home, he'd pop up to the studio to say hello; the dogs always, ALWAYS want more attention when he's around...pestering for a run or walk and that gets very irritating but surely these weren't enough to be causing a problem.
It's taken me a long time to start to recognise what was and continues to interrupt my usual 'flow'...it's the change of routine, the loss of silence and calm. The familiar had been pushed aside and I realise now how much I require stability and predictability and most definitely, space.
Now you may be reading this and thinking..is that it!? Big deal. It isn't a 'big deal' in the whole scheme of things but apparently it IS a 'big deal' for my psychological and emotional equilibrium. I've been off kilter..completely and utterly without rudder or sail or paddle...however you'd like to describe it.
Then, of course I was deeply affected by the sudden, out of the blue death of one of our Dalmatians, Juno. On our 'restorative' holiday. It was on my birthday when I had to utter those dreaded words, giving the vet the consent to put one of my dearest companions to sleep...for good...for ever....
I can't even begin to describe, nor would I burden you with, how deeply distressing this has been and still is, afterall my birthday was on 14th May...not long ago. We still have to address dealing with the ashes; transfering them into a textile liner and bag I lovingly created through blurry eyes. Into the antique box I've carefully lined with her bottom blanket and her cover over snuggle blanket. The tennis ball. The little silk bag I made and filled with sand from her favourite beach that she didn't manage to see but once before she was too ill. This event has naturally created a huge impact on my art...oh yes, still creating every day, just as importantly as a whale breaches for air, I pick up a pencil or brush.
Surprisingly, the loss of Juno has created anger; anger that it was far too soon, anger that she was too special and it was a cruel twist. I didn't direct this anger well initially. Firstly the mobile took the brunt and I now have a new phone...enough said. A few pieces of artwork suffered from being thrown across the caravan...the caravan didn't get much from the experience either, I might add...
On the day we eventually returned home...one Dalmatian and one package of ashes, I literally walked in the front door, said 'no' and exited via the back door! Then I decided to go to bed and just stay there. Fine but not a great long term plan. It's only been these last couple of days where I've found a way to push my anger, pain, hurt, disbelief etc. etc. into my painting.
This is where I guess I'm supposed to describe how I painted my emotions blah blah. No it was the way I used the brush, palette knife, sander. I was rough, I was fast, angry forceful strokes... but I was also being instinctual. I wasn;t allowing time to pause, assess, decide on what or how to create the painting I had in mind. No; I just painted.
The interesting part of this is that the paintings possess an energy and structure which really REALLY works. I'd say at least one, the one I've now just finished, is one of my favourite, most authentic pieces I've made...not recently...I mean ever.
Surprisingly, when I looked at it at around 10pm last night when my husband informed me of the time (what!!), I had followed the main principles of difference, values, composition...all that knowledge had still been driving the brush and palette knife. How incredible that during a time I would have described as chaotic, verging on 'madness' and rage...a piece of artwork would be born that was balanced, thoughtful and actually quite calming even through the energy that surrounds it.
I was so drained, emptied at the point my husband stepped in, I could hardly even stand. 'I'm ok' I recall uttering as I stumbled and swayed back and forth, fighting the feeling of vertigo. I was also excruciatingly cold, shivering as though in the grip of a raging fever. Concerned, my husband got me back to the house, fed me, gave me drinks. I sat wearing my hoodie, a blanket, gloves and hot water bottle for hours before I felt a little better. Today I feel exhausted...that old phrase of having 'done 10 rounds blah blah blah'; but exactly how I feel. I've been in bed all day, everytime I try to get up I feel I'll fall over.
There's a reason I'm sharing this, you'll be relieved to know!
I've so far learned that the more emotionally connected with my art, the better it is (not entirely new information I might add). The more I bottle those powerful feelings, the more they accumilate (again not much of a surprise). The most interesting bit for me is that, I somehow found a way to push all of that negative enegy down my arm, through those brushes and onto a surface but not in a chaotic, emotional outpouring. I experienced an intensity never experienced before during painting and yet me, I, Adele was still there somewhere, recalling the knowledge of composition and difference and values. From what outwardly probably looked like complete chaos and anger even, there was direction and control. It wasn't chaos, it was intensity, it was raw emotion...it was ok...
Now I don't particularly want to be on the edge of an emotional breakdown in order to create something special but it has shown me, there is something more in me, to tap into somehow. I don't yet know how, but it's shown me there's more, almost like finding a large oil reserve or water in the desert. I just need to ask myself how to access it without it being destructive to my own environment...or mobile phone....
Here's a few photo's of the painting. It still requires a few little tweaks to finish and then seal and frame, but the essence of it is there.
I'll end for now by posing a question to you all. Just how connected emotionally are you when you're creating your art, if you do. Is there more???
I'd love to hear back from you about your own experiences or of times when it didn't quite work out or something new and different occurred. Drop me a line, it might even be something of interest to have a chat about as a group? Let me know your thoughts.
Hear from you soon, I hope.