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Christmas hiccup for artmaking

December 25, 2011

quick sketch of irregular holiday tree with red ornamentsI have decided, this week, that Christmas is not a good time to make changes in your life, artmaking or otherwise. But I have been thinking some more about being stuck…

Here is the heart of the matter for me.  I struggle (immense struggle) with working in my studio. I manage to find creative and boring excuses that keep me from making art. Now, I know it’s not just the distractions, other responsibilities, or interruptions that keep me from working. It’s me. I’m just wondering how other artists (who have this same problem) deal with it. Is it like dieting? Instead of eating chocolate chips, you determinedly choose to eat an apple? Instead of doing laundry, you choose to go to your studio and paint? How does that work?

I suspect a big deterrent to working is fear. Molly Gordon made a comment in one of her online presentations that inertia (she calls it immunity to change) comes from being a complex human being. And that often the thing that is a barrier to doing something is in fact based on a fear that is sitting somewhere in the background hiding. In my case it’s a fear that the art I make won’t match what’s in my head. It will be boring, unsatisfying, and (yikes!) amateurish or redundant. I do know that this is somewhat of a mind game, but knowing is not enough to ignore it.

So my outcome this week?  Very little art. Christmas has intervened …but I feel less guilty than usual. And I have been fiddling in my sketchbook:

quick abstract color sketch in oil pastelquick abstract color sketch in oil pastel

Oh, and I did do a little online research looking for some insight into “stuckness.”

“…what is really being considered, either consciously or unconsciously, is that staying stuck is actually a way of feeling secure or comfortable–an important issue for anyone but particularly so for the highly sensitive person. If we are avoiding conflict we simply create more inner conflict because our truth isn’t spoken or expressed. If we desire true self-actualization, eventually we must come to face the realization that what is at stake–our hopes, our dreams, and our goals, is more important than our need for safety.”

Thomas Eldridge “On Being Stuck”

After reading this, I feel a little psychologically banged up. Bad enough to be stuck… but to find out that I’m craving safety?? Hmmm.

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