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October 16, 2014
Acrylic on Gessoed Paper

Acrylic on Gessoed Paper

Artists go through stages in the studio. Some of this is just “living” and other anxieties are brought on by personal insecurities. Work can range from good work, bad work and sometimes no work at all. This creates an all too familiar fear – a fear that nudges in the middle of the night that work is not measuring up to expectations. It’s a hard thing to shake. If persistent, it ends up blocking ones mindset and creative flow.
No spouse, friend or other artist can relieve the symptoms and slump; only the artist themselves. While there are numerous art-help books prescribing methods to fix the issue, it is a true problem the artist must deal with in order to continue on with one’s passion.

The ebb and flow of artwork goes in a “U” shape. Here’s how it looks and is the same process for each undertaking in most creative sectors :

  • At the beginning of the project/exhibit, the project is exciting. Ideas filter through, possibilities seem endless.
  • Planning happens, stored and the work begins.
  • The first phase of painting goes great. This is the top left part of the “U” shape. The background goes on with exciting and riveting colours: the work looks promising and thoughts of an early finish come to mind.
    Quickly, the artist realizes its more difficult than planned or expected.
  • As progression on the piece happens, the bottom part of the “U” shape occurs. It is dark time and shadows: ideas become muddy, paint gets thrown around like there is a gallon to spare. The artist desperately tries to recoup. The head is cradled in the hands and a wonderment of how to pull the mess together rears it’s head.
  • Light appears somewhere in the painting. The artist sees something to work on, a small but significant find to work around with colour, texture or light.
  • The artist transverse’s up the right side of the “U” shape. Things looks brighter and the project all seems worthwhile. Finishing up and not overworking the piece is always a challenge.
  • Arriving at the very top of the “U” shape, the artist ponders what all the sweat was about at the beginning and plans the next painting project and follows these steps all over again.

What may look great to family and friends, artists discriminate more readily and age and experience in the painting process do not help. Typically, artists are harder on themselves than most of the public in general.

Often a great tactic in combatting anxiety is to shift focus; paint in a new medium, gesso paper or simply clean and rearrange the studio. Part of the problem is the result of boring sameness and routine one creates in order to get work done. Mixing up when tasks are done, inviting someone for coffee in the solitary studio can ignite new ideas or keep you focused on the excitement of the process itself.

“Do every act of your life as it it were the last” Marcus Aurelius

The Little Brown Turtle
Theresa Eisenbarth
ArtWorks in RED Studio

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