Monday, 17 November 2008

Random thoughts

Ah, Monday. Joy of joys. It is a miserable, dreich day in Glasgow, dark and grey and not-quite-raining. I am so bored I could eat my own hair, but surprisingly, considering the above two points, some creative thoughts have been bubbling away in my poor underused brain.

I may have mentioned that I started painting again. I took a few days away from it (Dad's sweater and playing with the chainsaw took precedence) and then went upstairs and had a second look at what I'd done. They were fairly crap, to be honest.

This was something of a knock-back, as you can imagine. I promptly took a sulk with the whole thing and went back to my knitting and the nice warm fire downstairs. Quick explanation here - I use the upstairs spare bedroom as a "studio." This effectively means there is a drawer unit full of unused art materials, a pile of canvases, an easel and a lot of unrealised ideas in there. There is no heating upstairs either, so not only is it somewhat depressing, it's bloody freezing. And the window lets water in in torrents. Anyway.

I was sitting, kind of thinking, kind of drifting, and reading blogs. I stopped by the regulars, and was struck with the drawings of Mym the Creative Genius over at Shula's place. Go have a look. Go on, I'll wait.

Good aren't they? So I started thinking about why they are good. I finally hit on a conclusion. (I am a bit slow these days.) It's because they are entirely hers. No-one is sitting on her shoulder saying "that's wrong" or "that's rubbish" or even worse, "do it like this." That's how I used to be. I drew and painted because I had to and I produced the work that I wanted (needed?) to make. I didn't worry about criticism or opinion, whether it was valid or relevant or whatever. I just got on and created, and the terrible Creativity Monster was sated and happy. And so, to be honest, was I. I didn't always like what I created, sometimes it wasn't quite what I was expecting, but somehow it all needed to be done and it was basically good.

Then somewhere down the line, and I'm not going to psycho-analyse myself to figure out where cause it really doesn't matter, I forgot all that. I started to overthink, tried to justify what I was doing, tried to make it Valid and Art and Important and Conceptual and (gasp) Saleable (and that's far too many "ands" in one sentence) and you know? I totally ruined it for myself. I over-criticised, over-analysed, negatively compared myself against the work of others and totally overdid it. Screwed. Ruined. Finished. Kaput.


Am I an assbeagle or what? The reason the new paintings are crap is Totally Simple. They're not what I want to make!!! They were expressly thought up as something that OTHER PEOPLE MIGHT LIKE!!! Nooooo! I hadn't broken the cycle like I thought I had, I'd just found another way of perpetuating it. Muppet. Idiot. Brain-the-size-of-a-peanut. Really, sometimes, I think I should be locked in a room and have my pens taken away, and possibly be lightly beaten with my copy of a "World History of Art." I need, quite simply, to stop caring what others may think of what I create. I can post my knitting and crochet on Ravelry without a second thought, and I have been surprised and charmed by people "fave-ing" things and commenting. Because, for some reason, I don't put knitting and crochet into the same category as my art, like I used to. Art got punted into the Big Serious Stuff, whereas knitting stayed as Creative Expression (and keeping warm *grin*).

So as of today, "art" is getting kicked in the teeth in this house. It's Creative Expression all the way, no matter what medium, and knackers to the naysayers and the critical little voice in my head saying "that's crap, by the way." The Creativity Monster is back with a vengeance, stomping about and shouting to be heard. Fortunately, I think it's loud enough that the annoying little critical voice will be silenced.

I must say, I feel better already.


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