But what I can only describe as a sort of metamorphosis is taking place. I can feel something slowly unfurling wherever my creative center is located. Things that let me know I may be coming out of this creative hell:
- I am starting to enjoy looking at art again. It used to be, even when I was in a creative low - I could still enjoy and appreciate the art of others. I found sometimes that immersing myself in someone else's creativity was a reprieve from the lack of mine. You would think that this exercise would promote a sense of inadequacy or lowered self-confidence, but it seemed the opposite - looking at the art of others made me curious to try new techniques or gave me a new perspective on my own art. So this weekend, at the prompting of a good and dear friend, we embarked on a weekend full of art. We went to the High Museum in Atlanta - which I have to say has vastly and significantly improved I recommend it to anyone visiting Atlanta. From there we managed to make the Sketchbook Project exhibit. If you've never heard of it - you must go educate yourself and then participate. I am making one for 2013.
- I have bought new art supplies. Sometimes the simple act of getting new paper or a brush or new pencils helped to invigorate me creatively. Part of being a Creative is the process of creating, and in the case of me as an artist, having new tools or trying out new substrates or techniques is exciting. Over the past 2 years, I had purchased nothing. Now I have some fabulous water-soluble graphite sticks and water-based graphite by ArtGraf I've been having a good time getting to know. Also bought some awesome paper - Rhodia, a smooth, creamy paper from France. Similar to Paper for Pens by Borden and Riley. Exquisite.
- I am making an effort to get back to writing. In the past, when I would begin to feel a waning in my artistic interest, I turned my creative pursuits to writing. I joined a local writer's group and began to write a novel (or 3) flitting back and forth when an inspiring jag hit me. But my latest depression even impacted my desire to write - which was perhaps the oddest and most difficult part of my depressive process. Realizing I am hardly an adept writer, I still found the act of writing less daunting and not as fraught with anxiety, so it was a welcome escape when my art was boring me.
- I am doodling and making small works of art. I think one of my personal obstacles, the one that I inflict on myself the most, is the idea that every single piece I attempt to create must somehow be meaningful. Whatever that means I couldn't begin to put into words. It's intangible and frustrating to say the least and bogs me down even before I get started. I'd forgotten how to doodle. I'd forgotten how to let my mind wander and I'd totally missed the point of just letting random things appear on the paper. So now I feel kind of stupid and somewhat sheepish that such a small, relatively insignificant exercise is so crucial to the creative process - something I'd known but had shut out of my creative mind along with a lot of other things. I have also returned to the online art trader community of which I have made mention in older posts.
- I have begrudgingly started confirming to myself I am an artist. Even in relatively high points of my creativity, telling people I was an artist often made me feel like a charlatan or a sham. I didn't have trouble telling people I was a writer, perhaps because words belong to everyone and we use them to communicate - thus a sense of "public domain" and not so egregious. But when it came to the label "artist" there seemed so much more weight to it, that I felt I didn't measure up. Perhaps it's me, well - I know it's me, projecting my ideas of what an artist is or should be and realizing I have no right to be in that camp. My standards are too high and I don't measure up. But then getting self-conscious and then embarking on some sort of explanation of what I think a true artist is starts becoming tedious and self-defeating. So I have resolved to try and shake that idea and just get comfortable with the notion that I am an artist. I. AM. AN. ARTIST.
The sketchbook that I purchased to participate in the Sketchbook Project is sitting next to me on my desk, innocuous and completely unassuming. I can't wait to get started.