Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hard Times

It's time to come clean. I'm struggling. Badly. Anyone who's read this blog for any length of time can see it, if only based on the extreme drop-off of blog posts. Add to that the promises I keep making about offering videos that my electronic skills simply don't match, and what you get is a tired artist- frustrated, bored with what I'm doing, and seemingly unable to pull myself out of this rut.

It's a creative rut, the longest one I've been in since I started painting many years ago. A year and a half ago, we moved into a temporary apartment while our house was being built and since then, I haven't been able to find my groove. I've looked, believe me I have, but it's hiding and I'm becoming frightened. Maybe I shouldn't even post this blog, it may depress or worry people, and if it does, I sincerely apologize. But you know me- I've always been honest about what's happening in my studio... both the good, and the bad. This is about as bad as it gets.

I step into the studio, turn on the lights, and feel a heavy weight descend on me. I don't know the name of the weight, though it feels like exhaustion, or maybe expectation, or maybe even the most terrifying of all feelings for life-long artists, abnegation. I fear that my creative impulse has fled, that it's finished with me, and that nothing will lure it back into my life.

The only thing I know how to do right now is to keep working and hope that creativity will find me again, rescue me from a future I can't even imagine: one without the desire to Make.

In order to try and find something that reignites me, I switch gears now and then, and try things I haven't tried before. Lately, that's been using collage and paint on a larger scale than usual, with a different substrate than I'm used to- cradled panels.

These rigid surfaces, pre-prepared and ready for any medium, are actually quite lovely to work on. They're spendy, but I'm desperate, so I purchased four of them that measure 18" x 24", and two that measure 24" x 36".

I dug out all my collage papers, stacks of them, and some hand-dyed fabrics from my crazy, lovely dyeing days, and went at three of the smaller panels with a vengeance.

I've been seeking subtlety in my work; in particular, in my color palette, which is usually bright (bordering on garish, but I love that about it), sparkly, and very high contrast. I've been wanting for a long time to soothe those colors, put them into a new, more peaceful context.

That was my goal starting out.

This first piece didn't quite get there... it seems that even though my muse might have abandoned me, my color palette is still very much alive and kicking (and screaming), and wasn't prepared to go down without a fight.

The next piece was somewhat more successful in the hunt for nuance.

The bright colors are still there, but somehow more tamed.

The third piece was the real bitchkitty, though, and fought me tooth and nail through many layers of paint, paper, paint, paper, tears of frustration, moments of giving up, paint, and more paper. I think I finally nailed it, though, and this is the piece I'm most happy with at the moment:

Color palette: still present; abstract composition: achieved; subtlety: there, baby.

This helps. And it may also offer me a new direction. I'm sniffing along the road towards creativity, like a hound hot on the trail of killer, and I will find it. I hope you'll stay tuned during this difficult transition... I just know my work has more to say.
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