“All the sorrows, all the bitterness, all the sadness, I forget them and ignore them in the joy of working? Camille Pissarro
We have all been through a difficult period. For some, this time of isolation has given them an uninterrupted time to really explore and create; for others, it has been more difficult.
I had several weeks in February and March when I only found time to finish up some things I had started. New ideas, and the need to paint was not there. My family was with me and I had this adorable little toddler running around wanting everyone’s attention. Yes, at that moment in time art was not high on my priority list. Then as time passed and everything fell into a routine, the need to be creative in the studio, instead of the kitchen, did present itself.
That is OK, and not OK. It is OK because “creative juices” do ebb and flow. Sometimes life swings front and center, and sometimes there is more room for the work than at other times, and percolating creative thought is important. It is not OK when art has been a major part of how you express yourself and make meaning in life. Then, it stops, and we feel we cannot get back. We start to feel slightly off kilter until we can push paint around again, or in my case paste papers down. For a while, my students shared their work, and we were having a sort of an online class to keep ourselves motivated, then what I will call the “pandemic inertia” set in. No art came to my inbox, and I was not doing anything either.
Inertia can be astonishingly powerful. The voice inside us that says: “I can’t think of anything meaningful to create. I really don’t feel like setting everything out. This is pointless, a waste of time”. It is like a black hole that sucks us in. We want to create something, but we find more urgency in doing the laundry, preparing the meals, and worrying about when the pandemic will finally let us return to our normal lives.
There is not a fail safe cure for this. We each walk the path in our own unique way, and what works great one day may not work at all the next. I have spent weeks now writing about how the creative spirit is alive and well in all of us and how we have to let go, and dig deep, to reach that inner point of total creativity, when I knew many of my fellow artists were suffering from inertia. But keeping the idea front and center in my mind did help me start working again. Sometimes you just must start working, to get the creative juices going.
When I went back to work after 8 weeks of just finishing up stuff, I admit I had a hard time. I started out with an interesting format and a day later I gessoed over it and started again. Then I had a city with a big cancer hanging off. You can guess where that came from! Then I painted out more, changed the color scheme, started to add collage and all kinds of texture. There are many, many, hours in the finished piece, and many, many, layers. It probably is the painting I have spent the most time on ever. It is by far the most complicated and has a lot of inner Carolyn thoughts in it. It maybe not the best work I have ever done, but it is most definitely my “Inner Journey” back to creativity in the studio. It could be cut up and made into many paintings, but it is a large stretched canvas and will remain that way because I believe it was my personal journey back to my creative self. There is a history of me in it. Below are individual sections of “Inner Journey“. Stay safe. Carolyn