Thursday, May 1, 2014

Art and Anxiety

Recent collage postcard on Gelli print background
Thanks for all your wonderful, heartfelt comments to yesterday's post.  I appreciated every one of them.

Reading just a tad further in Eric Maisel's Fearless Creating, he essentially says that creating art of any kind is a balancing act of one's tolerance for anxiety. 

Artists who are actively working and/or deeply engaged in the creative process experience more anxiety when they're NOT working.  The anxiety of not working keeps these artists moving forward.

People who are in fallow periods, those who are blocked in some way, folks who spend more time thinking about making art than actually making it, experience more anxiety when they DO work.  It's simply less anxiety-producing to not work.

So it's a trade off.  How much anxiety do you feel comfortable with?  I know I don't handle anxiety well in my life in general.  Which is why I shy away from working unless I'm experiencing some out-of-the-blue streak of mojo.  Which is rare these days.

I have a feeling the trait of personally handling anxiety goes way back in our lives.  I think it's a skill we learn early on, or we don't...depending on a lot of things.  Not that we can't nurture the ability; I do believe we can.  The questions become ~ "Do I need to?  "Do I want to?"  "Is it important enough for me to do to put myself through the anxiety of taming my anxiety?" 

Today, I don't think so.  But tomorrow's another day.


Jacki Long said...

I'm a Connie Rose fan!
Whatever you choose to do
or not do,
so no pressure here!

john said...

This is a strong piece. I am wondering if I should read this book? It sure is provoking thought.

Jeannie said...

You really are producing some thought provoking posts! I agree that one's ability to cope with anxiety (and stress) is deeply rooted in one's childhood. Therapy helped me, but it still is there at the edges. I also have come to the attitude of "whatever". I know those that were important to me at one time were actually toxic. Life is just one long lesson and we have to determine if we are going to be "graded" by others. I think I'll take a pass. :) Have a great day!!!

MegWeaves said...

Oh, and then there is the guilt, for me, of only thinking and not actually making. I must secretly love living with anxiety. (And I'm still mulling over yesterday's post.)

Irene said...

My medicines have tamed most of my anxiety, there for I no longer create. It is the truth. :-)

PamelaArtsinSF said...

Hummm...for me, the process of making art is very calming and keeps me from being anxious....if I don't work on art projects I start to get crazy...not sure how that fits in but it works for me...

Paper Chipmunk (aka Ellen) said...

Sometimes we all need a little break. I actually think taking a break from workshops etc for a while isn't a bad idea. If you are constantly taking lessons in others' ideas and techniques, it kind of crowds out the time you have for your own. And, yes, you *do* have your own style and way of doing things. Have trust in yourself. You're a wildly creative person!

That whole "burning desire" to make art to live, feed a lofty vision, etc? I think a lot of that is bull pucks, honestly. It's a cultural myth. (And marketing… and contrived artists' statements… ) There's nothing wrong in just making stuff 'cause you want to.

Maggi said...

Another thought-provoking post Connie. I find that I suffer from anxiety when I am working - that it won't turn out the way that I want it too, but I also become anxious when I'm not working - afraid that I won't be able to get going again.