Monday, October 10, 2011

Unsettled and That's Okay

I can only speak for myself really, but I don't think for one minute that I'm the only artist out there that goes through this. That feeling of being unsettled. Maybe it's an Aries thing. We are forever the starters who never feel like finishing. I have gone through dozens of projects that get to a certain point of 'finished' where I realize that I have somewhat mastered a new skill, and then I put them away or toss them aside because that was all I was really after. The knowledge that I could do that new thing, not that I really wanted to do it. And perhaps that's what's going on now. That feeling of needing to not really DO everything, but know that I CAN. When I see another artist's fantastic new work or exciting new medium, and I feel inadequate or unaccomplished because it's not ME. It's not me that knows how to invoke deep feelings in the viewer, it's not me who's getting that big licensing deal, it's not me every single freakin time. That's where I realize how stupid this is, because I'm not everybody for cryin' out loud, I'm just one person. But I think I know that I have the capability to do these things, and I either don't have the interest or the time or even the thought of them until I see someone else do it first. And then I'm like 'damn it'. Anybody got a brick wall I can bang my head against?

And then I get unsettled. All of the sudden (well that's relative since it happens quite often) what I am doing, what I am GOOD at, isn't what I want any more. Not that I don't still love it, but I feel like I should also be doing something else, or something more. I must conquer all! Ooo, how very old European dictator of me. Ha! Sometimes I follow this urge to do something more or be some other kind of artist, and I spend an afternoon creating a new kind of art. Usually I really like the result, but very rarely do I feel like I want to do it again tomorrow. I always seem to circle back around to my illustrations. Clean, hand drawn, colorful and humorous. They make me smile every single time. And the funny thing is that they aren't even the kind of art that I choose to decorate my home with. I am drawn to things with texture and age and intricate complexity. But when I create the art, it's always the simple things that burst out of my veins. Empty space and a quiet moment put to paper. Pure color and slightly off kilter lines. An honesty that isn't hidden amongst layers and layers of stain and scratches. I'm not sure what that says about me. Ah well, I have 50 odd years to think on that and still never figure it out.

So, I guess I'm okay with being unsettled. I guess I'm okay with being inspired by the jealous feelings I get when I see another artist's beautiful gift. Because ultimately, it all helps to reassure me that what comes out of my hands is truly mine.

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