Love-Hate Relationship

For the past several hours I’ve been sitting in the basement where I have set up my studio space staring blankly at several canvases.  One, I forcefully removed from its stretcher bars and threw it unceremoniously on the floor (drawing blood in the process).  Another lies there half-finished, the faces staring back at me, empty.  Incomplete.  Four more canvases have the marks of new thoughts, fresh inspiration, and new-found dedication.

I sat there and as I thought about working on them, I felt sick.  Physically ill in some way.

One of the canvases that stands by, ready to have paint applied and smeared across the surface, is a painting of how I feel about art at this moment.  Consumed.  Drained.  Like in some sick way, I am loosing part of my soul with each stroke of the paintbrush, each line of charcoal, each image drawn in the sketchbook.

I love art.  I always have.  It’s a part of who I am as both an individual and as a definition of my faith.  I’ve always drawn and painted what’s been on my heart, but recently I feel like I’m painting because I feel compelled to paint.  And I hate that feeling.

I feel sick because my mind is not focused on painting like I feel it should be.  I’m not painting because I want to, but I feel like I’m painting and drawing because that’s what people expect me to do.

I’ve always told myself that I don’t want my passion to become my job, and every day this summer that I’ve gone down and attempted to paint I feel like I have lost that passion.  Ever since I announced that I wanted to build up my portfolio for Grad School art has no longer held the same release that it once did.

It hurts to write these words, but I feel like I must get them out before they consume me from the inside out.

It just feels like there is so much pressure behind me to create.  Between my own desire to have each painting, drawing to be perfect in its own right and the constant bombardment from family and friends to start and complete pieces, each day  I feel like I’m one step closer to slashing every canvas in frustration or taking them outside to put them to the flames.

I still love art.  I still enjoy working on pieces and bringing life into them through each line and shadow, each stroke of the brush, and every mark on the page, but I feel like I need to slow down, to actually take time on each piece and see them through.

I don’t know if this is “just a phase” that I need to work through or a stepping stone in my artistic journey to find who I am.

I don’t mind the fact that a lot of my paintings are darker in nature, nor do I really care what people think of them.  Like I told my professor during the final critique of Painting I, “I didn’t paint this for you, I painted it for me.”

God Bless and PEACE

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1 Comment »

  1. I feel the exact same way you do! Im glad to know Im not entirely alone. Haha

    That pressure is what stopped me from drawing, everyone wanted me to go to a big art school, and everyone wanted a self portrait of themselves. It was exhausting and It made me not want to create anymore-until I found ceramics.

    Maybe switch mediums for awhile and try not to focus so hard on your tasks at hand, let the work just speak.

    I wish you well! 🙂


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