So, I am a big supporter of mental health. I've been in therapy for anxiety that had completely locked up my mind as far as creativity and I was struggling with postpartum depression at the same time. I'm doing well, the therapy is going quite well and I am learning ways to deal with it without having to medicate myself. (Not that I am implying there is anything wrong when someone needs medication; please use your medication. I just was surprised I didn't end up needing medication!)
Some of the bigger changes I've been making is about how I view my role in the art world and the approach I'd been taking to it. I'd been making work I wasn't excited about because I was trying to force myself to fit some kind of odd mold I had made for myself about what a "real" artist does and works like. Like I had to be making x type of work to be taken seriously. I wasn't having any enjoyment, and it felt like a chore. I think I had a lot of pre-concieved notions about what I was "supposed" to be doing that were choking my ability to work. I was doing what felt like the right steps - modeling my work after artists I admired but not copying - and I was somewhat happy to do all the planning in my head, but the resulting work keeps leaving me underwhelmed.
My therapist said to me, do you remember the joy you had making art before you gave yourself all these rules? Do you remember how it felt to draw and color with crayons and make cows purple if you wanted to? Can you try to do something that will let you feel that again?
I said I would try. And after my birthday this past Saturday I had a chance to sit up and work. I was inspired by a friend's repainting of Manet's Olympia, and decided that since this was just to break the ice, I would try to work from a piece of art history. I pulled up a Gauguin portrait of a french girl with short bangs and made a colorful and slightly awkwardly formed drawing of her. It wasn't perfect, but mixing medias like acrylic and oil pastels and using bright color however I damn well felt like was just addicting and I worked until 3:30am!! (Not the best move for a mom of a 1 and 3 year olds buuuut it had to happen.)
I don't plan to post that artwork because it has a lot of faults, but it did its job of breaking the ice for me and ever since then I have been working all week. I completed two still life works seen below, and I am working on a third presently. These two are on paper, and the third is on a gesso'ed board. With a little more time put in I am finding I really value bright color, line, and expressive marks. I like a good bright shape. For the most part I still believe in rolling with the mistakes and moving on instead of obsessing over perfection. I do have some ideas for using this in some grid layout works and I do still have a fondness for natural objects, especially house plants and pretty pieces of plants I find. I do also like all the quirky stuff I have collected in my home and they'll be coming out into the artworks.
I hope you like these, and I hope you'll be with me as I continue refining this joy. I am already seeing growth in the third still life I am working on currently.
Bouquet in a Purple Jar
Liquid acrylics and oil pastel on velum paper, 19x24 in. 2018
Liquid acrylics and oil pastel on velum paper, 2018 will be cropped soon