This is hard. Where concept, hope and expectation meet cold, hard reality. For me it starts with a compulsion. It usually goes something like this; “let’s paint a masterpiece”. Shit. Setting myself up for disappointment. I soldier on. This quest to capture a fleeting moment, articulate the infallible, express the suppressed or engage in this therapeutic process of placing oneself fully in the realm of existence. That is to say fully to be as artist. I do feel decidedly self indulgent though. I mean really I should be doing something useful like being an accountant. Who’s got time to paint….we’ve got work to do…do some work you scallywag.
With a vague idea in mind, a few broad brush strokes to establish the basic composition and the ball is rolling. That’s almost the hardest part; getting started, the momentum carries you from there. No the hardest part for me is realizing at the end of a piece that in fact I didn’t paint a masterpiece. What is this thing that I have just brought into existence. Is it a representation of me? Is it a reflection of me? Or is it just a fleeting fragment of my messed up stream of consciousness manifesting as this weird energy in the room? What place in this world does this new creation have? If any at all. Does it have intrinsic value? If so to whom?
No I would be mistaken if I were to leave it at that. It is the process that counts. The value to me is there moment by moment. Is that not reason enough to produce artwork? And then it is done and you leave it and move on to another concept, another glimmer of hope. And keep doing that year in and year out. Keep acting on that creativity that summons you forward. Learning and growing with each hashed attempt, each mountain that you decide to climb. Each little victory. And then one day when you least expect it something happens. And people will say wow how long did it take you to complete that artwork. And you’ll smile because you know it took the whole process from the first time you picked up a crayon as a kid. That said though, it isn’t that all elusive achievement at some distant point in the future that drives me. I guess it is the realization that perhaps, just maybe I am allowed to be an artist. Maybe if I give myself permission to create and not worry too much about who accepts my work or how ‘good’ it is. Maybe then I’ll get back into it and focus instead on the good that is inherent in the process.