Wednesday, 31 October 2012

never belabour yourself with creativity

After three years of writing this blog and amassing a massive 25 followers (I don't try to promote it at all) I was recently invited to join a new bloggy social network called Storylane. I imported the blog there, and, extraordinarily, after about three days,  I suddenly have 83 followers. There must be other people out there struggling with this stuff!

My friend Anicet found it this way, read back quite a way until she found the post on idiosyncrasy, and then wrote this long, thoughtful response:

Oh, What a pleasure to read on an other artist struggle and finding her way out of the "creative block" or too much freedom syndrome. I feel and realize that when I had a house to run, kids to take to music classes, tai-chi etc. and had so many chores to do, I was much more balanced with my creative energies. My work in my spontaneously set up studio, between cooking and organizing had so much better flow and my two different activities had fed each other energetically. My interaction with people were exciting, which they didn't always understand, but it all came from my joy of painting...seeing where I was going with a particular image or not seeing it joy I received from the people, their positive response to my exuberant communication with them gave me the energy and the inspiration to go back and continue daily for an hour or so my unfolding images. The rhythm between my creative expressions, of music, painting and sculpting for a good period of the time well balanced and thus made me happy as a person as a mother and as a partner to my man. I so can identify with your struggle with this imagined or self-created /subconsciously/ block,( which after a year of focus which resulted in six difficult and complex, structurally strict and deliberate images, with perfection to satisfy my desire for the aimed result) that sits on me for the past year and a half. I am creating nonstop in my mind, I am collecting data, I am planning, making sketches, but I also feel that all this is in order to avoid mixing out my colors and face all that is in me to express and finally throw myself back to that sea of delicious creative energy I so love. Our mind understands and realize and all that, but it all comes down to action. I am not waiting for inspiration, but my excuse right now worded as..: "waiting for the right energy". And compare to my previous life, my domestic life in Connecticut years past, this is a very different world, full of other activities, mostly running away from myself and my own private space. Why, I still have to figure out. But I wouldn't be surprised if it had to do with my social interactions and it's imbalances. Something equally satisfying to my old community that fed me energetically, spiritually and kept me physically fit. So many things that are responsible for the formation of a healthy artist. I didn't mean to write such a long comment, but reading your blog on this subject made me in a way feel better about it and made me conscious of this problem, kind of helping me to face the music. :) Thank you Tamsin! 

Thank you Anicet! This whole thing is almost impossible to work out, but it seems to be helpful to share what it feels like, at least for me. I met an artist on my Authentic Artist workshop last week who was talking about exactly this - looking and looking and wanting to paint, but for some reason the painting not happening.

I've been thinking about this for three years. There seem to be a lot of problems with the inner critic ('that's pathetic, I can't show this to anyone'; 'who am I to make this painting?' etc), and with other forms of inner talk. Sometimes there's not even any talk, just distracting behaviour; the body always finding something else to do with itself (though I wonder if that is the body, or if it's the mind using the body to avoid working at deeper levels...).

However, I also came to realise that I was in a big period of transition, after decades of pushing myself and being insanely focussed and busy. I'm wondering this morning whether that looking, creating with the mind, maybe taking photographs instead of painting... whether that kind of activity might actually be a kind of recuperation, a settling, after so much activity for so long. Our culture tells us that we should be constantly producing, focussed, disciplined etc. But I'm increasingly coming to believe that the kind of creativity that I'm interested in comes out of space, not out of pushing or forcing.

Here's a quote from Paul Oertel, one of my teachers, which was dictated specifically for me (!)at my recent workshop:

Never belabour yourself with creativity. 
Follow the juice.
Outsmart yourself by following the fun.
Look for the stream that is open.

Oh, Anicet, I also meant to say - all my paintings here are done by hand. I don't do any work directly on the computer. I always do a painting first, and then usually just slightly enhance the colours using basic free Picasa photo-editing software (you know the kind of thing, brighter/darker etc) after I photograph them. Recently Picasa added a few fancy enhancing techniques, but it all starts with a physical painting....


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