Desperate for a kickstart from the creative drought I browse my bookshelves for inspiration. Leafing through a book on acrylic art techniques I get a pang of adrenaline, a little buzz of possibility and a fizz of fear. Could I? Is it time? Things have got so slow recently I’ve even considered locking away all my art supplies and boring myself into submission. With a petulant curl of the lip, I decide that I’ve managed to not be an artist all my life, I can continue a little longer. So should I sell up, ship out the paint and paper? If I have no resources and no opportunity, then surely, and perversely, I will want to ? (I have, after all, tried the opposite tack in the past- buying every nuance of paintbrush and paper, every pigment of paint , and enough washi tape to girdle the planet. That didn’t work either. It just sat there and looked ominously at me.)
I often reach for a book to inspire me- words or pictures. Pinterest has the same function, though it can be a bit of a runaway horse- an hour or two can easily escape as I search and pin ( has anyone else ever typed ‘mixed media abstract art journaling creatively stuck please help’ into the search bar?!)) pin and pin some more, extending the interconnecting branches of a tree of inspiration and creativity that extend into the most colourful corners of the planet.
So anyway, back to my book on acrylic techniques. My eye hops around the page as colours fly, paint drips and crackles, but in 2d, on paper, and not mine. Of course, my eye comes fresh to these images and they astound me with the element of surprise and uniqueness. Anything I create myself has layers not only of paint, but of judgement, experiment, of mistakes embraced and others eradicated. The paint is loaded with blood, sweat and tears. As I adore and envy the work of other artists I unfairly compare their apples with my oranges…. (the pictures here are all my oranges, by the way)
And ultimately the pendulum swings again and I regain my creative flow. How did I do it? Partly I made it happen, partly I put my trust in the universe and wait patiently, mindfully, watching for the signs.
I took a long hard look at what I’m good at. Seriously good at- things that not even my demons can deny. I’m good at starting, I’m not afraid of a blank page; at laying down paint, at recognising great colour and knowing when something feels and looks right. I love layers- I’m good at building them up and finding depth. I’m good at learning, curating, researching, exploring language and digging into my psyche. (Is that not a basis for a great art journal practice,right there?!)
The things I’m not so good at, I leave to worry about another day. We must play to our strengths, not throw everything we’ve got at drowning out the ‘weaknesses’. So that’s what I do, without expectation or self judgement, and the colour and shape begin to flow again.