|Art Journal page, April 2014|
After my last class with Jane Davies I put myself on class-taking hiatus indefinitely. And there certainly are classes I would take, ones that pals are participating in and loving, were it not for my decision to stop.
Earlier this week I put myself on another moratorium, to not buy ANY more art materials or supplies for a good, long while. What could I possibly need that I don't already have at this point?
For so long I've wanted to understand more deeply what it is about me and art making that has been so confounding. You've read numerous posts here in one way or another alluding to my "checkered" art making history, my vagabond-like path through countless media in an attempt to find one that clicked for me. Some place I could hang my creative hat for the duration and claim as my own. And other rambling posts about trying to find my style in this or that medium, etc.
I discovered the answer just yesterday while beginning to read Eric Maisel's Fearless Creating ~ To wit, I do not have, nor have I ever had, truthfully, a burning desire to create art. Yes, I've had my enthusiasms and periodic passions. But I've honestly never felt this hunger to express my deepest self and/or how I see the world, as visual art.
Now, I'm not saying that I'm not a good artist, and I'm not seeking outside confirmation or support. I know that I am a very creative person, no doubt about that. And I've already proven to myself that I can handle well just about any medium I attempt. And that I am capable of creating beautiful things.
This new-to-me understanding is way deeper than that. It's also the missing link for me, the reason behind most of my artistic wanderlust. While I've always thought I just hadn't yet found the right medium of expression for me, the truth is, I have no artistic vision, no compelling story to tell, nothing I yearn to say artistically. No medium that I've pursued has brought me any closer to my creative source or my artistic soul. Nothing has spoken to me deeply or been the opening through which I might tap into a vein of creative wildness or juice.
And now I realize that this lifelong search is not about the next medium or the right supplies and tools or taking a class from the next best instructor. It's about connecting with something inside of me that feels absent at best or non-existent at worst. And this is my truth.
I also see now that my near-obsessive looking at others' work, in all the media I'm drawn to, is not really about my wanting to do work like that or wishing theirs was, in fact, my own work. It's that those artists' passion and self-generated inspiration is something that I've been searching for in my own work. I see that intuitive spark in others' work. But I don't see it in my own. And that, too, is my truth.
What I can say with certainty is, I love color. And I've always loved to make things with my hands.
But to answer the question, Why did I become an artist? or Why do I want to create?, I'd have to say these things:
- I didn't know what else to do with my life (and still don't)
- I wanted to feel like I belonged among truly artistic people (few of whom I ever really felt comfortable among, in retrospect)
- A part of me always wanted to be able to express the beauty or truth of the world visually through the filter of my soul (which I've never been able to do), although a perhaps bigger part of me has always preferred to just see the world for what it is and not try to recreate it
- To prove to myself that I was as capable as others of expressing themselves artistically (as though I would be a lesser person if I didn't or couldn't)
- To justify my vast expenditures on art supplies, which I've always been drawn to possessing (as though having the accoutrements of art making would guarantee that I could become an artist)
- I wanted to be hip, in the know, wild, outrageous, flamboyant, free within, and I always saw or imagined artists to be these things
- I thought that by creating, by actually doing the making of art, that that compelling need I've always lacked would magically create itself
- I felt that I should be an artist, that it might be the right thing for me to do, in light of my technical, mechanical capabilities.
A longer-than-usual post here. Thanks for staying with me. I hope you don't feel like you need to tell me that I'm being too hard on myself. It's not about that at all. It's about telling the truth. And as they say, "The truth shall set you free."
So I've called an art making moratorium for myself for now. I'm reading other art making-type books (as opposed to how-to books) and listening and exploring within to find my muse. I'd really like to stay away from trying another creative fix until something emerges from inside me that's just dying to be expressed artistically. The allure of my three dozen bottles of Golden Fluid Acrylics, though, is pretty enticing. So we'll see what happens. I'm not making myself any promises though.