There are times when the shift happens and the subject is perceived as looking at me instead of me looking at it. These are magical moments in art making. These are moments when I get into the “zone” and images come freely into my mind, well defined as there were real. Shapes and colors have a life on their own. I really learned to cheer these moments and see how valuable they are.
Especially, after a more than reasonable time has passed without me being able to create any new artworks, I started to investigate the reason why I placed myself at such a distance from my ideal creative attitude.
For the first few weeks without making any art, I thought it was due to lack of time or maybe I was just tired and need to have a break. A major renovation was in progress in my house, a new lecturing job, family affairs and the rationalization goes on and on. Until, after almost a year without barely making one single drawing I finally realized that I was having an artist’s block.
I would take the brush in my hands, prepare the paint, my some marks on the canvas and feel like I needed a pause, have a cup of tea to come back to it later. This “later” would become the day after, and postponed again and again.
Maybe, the external conditions were not ideal. But, the true is that any time is good enough to work on some drawings, take notes, study colors and collect references. The stimuli are everywhere: from my surrounds to my dreams. There is always a starting point for making a print or a painting, no matter how long it can take to get finished.
Stimuli are different than “inspiration”. It seems to me that “stimuli” comes from an investigative state of mind and “inspiration” would just blossom into my mind, in an instant of revelation, effortless.
From the moment I become aware that I was actually having an artist’s block I started taking notes, stopping here and there to take photos as references for a new print or painting, going back to an exhibition to make notes on some textures and lines that got my interest.
Why did it take so long? I do not know.
I have a vague idea of what triggered the creative block. Although, I can blame it to the frustration caused by a severe critic on my work and a feeling of rejection that affected my self-confidence in ways that I should know better to ignore, it still did hurt me, deeply.
Possibly, I was just stroke by the destructive comment about my artwork in those moments of super hyper sensitivity and, could not avoid the painful way I took that particularly rejection. Of course, for an artist, to feel vulnerable and over exposed is part of our nature. However, this consciousness did not make the experience of rejection less painful.
My home studio is clean and organized now. I have a partially layered canvas waiting for me and an empty press ready to start rock rolling my plates. A feeling of sadness is almost overwhelming accompanied by a sense of loss. The loss of time. It has been almost one year since I last finished an artwork. There is this awareness that I already do not have enough time to learn all I need to learn on my Visual Arts studies. The importance of crucial time to explore, time to experience and to just maintain the flow of ideas and productive action towards art making.
And yet, I let time pass by without fulfilling it with the purpose. Let’s hope I can keep looking and seeing it or better, I do not forget that ” the forest is looking at me instead of me looking at the forest,” as a great master would say.