Onwards & Upwards, Mixed Media, 30 x 30 inches, stretched canvas
Sometimes I just wish I could get to where I want to be… that promised land where I feel like I’ve ‘arrived’ as an artist. It’s easy to be persuaded that it’s just a painting away, another teacher away, another technique away. But the truth is that the creative journey isn’t some straight forward ascent to a final destination. It’s a series of steps, missteps, circles, cycles, disasters and successes. I can leave the studio feeling like I’ve cracked it one day, only to go back in the next morning and think, ‘What the hell?’.
Making art – particularly intuitive art – can be bloody hard work. It can make you wonder why the heck you continue to invest in the process. But, the fact of the matter is, there’s something very compelling about plumbing the depths of your creative soul and expressing it. It’s the primal urge of creative expression and it’s something that many, if not most of us feel compelled to do. The reasons we struggle in doing so can be many and varied – from the complex act of formulating impulse and feeling into a visual language, to battling inner demons – fear of failure and fear of being judged being just two of many.
Perhaps if we were straight-forward, predictable, one-dimensional automatons, making art as a reflection of who we are would be dead easy. But, the fact is that we are not. We’re complex, unpredictable, ever changing and evolving beings. According to post-modern thinking, we’re not even ‘one’ being… we’re multitudinous and fluid, expanding and contracting in response to our environments. Wow, big stuff. No wonder then, if art is a reflection of who we are, that it isn’t so easy to package it into one final, perfect rendition of ‘us’.
Whenever I’m feeling dissatisfied about my creative progress, I try to remember how complex we are as creative beings and cut myself a break. This art ‘thing’ isn’t, and never will be, straight forward. If I wanted it to be so, I reckon I’d go and buy one of those ‘paint by numbers’ sets I used to have as a kid and content myself with that. In the meantime, it’s onwards and upwards, sideways and backwards, just as it’s meant to be!