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Over the hump

January 11, 2012


Sketchbook image of vertical panels done with oil pastel

Ya-a-a-y! The Christmas decorations are stowed, the candy and cookies are redistributed, and I’m mostly reoriented to 2012. Mostly.

I’m back to contemplating the artmaking process and some more thoughts from Steven Pressfield, who wrote DO THE WORK. I was a little skeptical of the DO IT philosophy, but one of its tenets is definitely true: Skipping over the part where I avoid working in my studio, and doing something (anything) instead, like drawing in my sketchbook, cutting out collage pieces, or (whoa!) mixing some paint to work on a painting actually results in productivity. I knew that! I keep knowing it over and over, but there’s that hump that I have to constantly negotiate (not the Christmas one). I’m talking about the Steven Pressfield “Resistance” hump. I seem to get stuck in self-dialogue and then I divert to getting on the Internet, etc. instead of working in my studio. Chalk one up for Pressfield.

Here are a couple of things from his book:

“The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

“Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneur’s worst enemy.”

and, finally,

“The deeper the source we work from, the better our stuff will be—and the more transformative it will be for us and for those we share it with.”

What I take from this is: Recognize that resistance is normal; stop thinking so much; and, draw upon the rich resource for imagery and content that is within each of us. I talked a little about this in my other blog this week.

Pressfield doesn’t address directly that deep fear that many artists have that their work isn’t worthy of attention. But I suspect that the message is hidden there in the description of Resistance. And I think the answer is to hail it for the foe that it is…and then keep going.

So…one other observation about getting in the studio—it’s sometimes good to rework old pieces that have been bugging you, especially if a new idea or current work isn’t happening easily. One of the things that I did this week:

Turning this:

2-panel mixed media collage on cradled panels, 24x12 inches

into this:

Reworking a mixed-media, collage piece

These are mixed media, cradled panels, 12×12 inches. I didn’t like my first whack at this idea…so I added one of my favorite materials: metallic powder. I like them better.

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