A friend of mine asked to visit the studio. I said no.
I feel protective of the work right now. Drawings scattered on the floor form an obstacle course of images. The chosen ones are stuck to the wall with a bit of blue tape, their edges curling towards me as if in need of a hug. Paintings in progress lay around the studio in varying stages of undress, vulnerable. Some seek attention, patches of stark white canvas exposed for all the world to see. Others, further along, sit patiently. Confident. Smug. And then there’s the problem child over in the corner. Perfectly well two days ago before taking a bad turn.
It’s not just the work that needs protecting. It’s me. Some of my blank canvas is showing too. I’m up against a deadline and trying new things, a stressful combination. An alternate vision hangs in the vicinity of my peripheral vision; not quite in focus. When I turn my head, it turns with it, remaining out of clear sight. Such a tease. It brushes up against me like a cobweb, tickles while I’m sleeping.
Firmly believing that the answer lies in the process itself, I boldly put paint to canvas. A lot of canvas. At last count, there were sixteen works in progress, all in the messy middle phase, the dark phase, awaiting resolution. Streets scenes dominate, steep diagonals leading to a focal point, a reward for making the trip. Figures appear in mirrors, lean against walls, bodies suggested by a few brush strokes. I put something down and it talks back.
One of the best aspects of having a studio is the door. Upon arriving, I shut it.
Holed up in my bomb shelter, I draw. I paint. Have a productive hour. Screw up. Make a mess. Give myself pep talks. Dance. Shuffle stuff around. Breakthrough. Dress like a slob. Hate everything. Pat myself on the back. I listen to archived episodes of radio programs for eight hours straight, just to block out my thoughts.
I have complete faith.
But I’m not waiting around for clarity or inspiration. The answer is in the work itself, so I keep at it. After I finish a few pieces according to the new specs, I’ll put out the welcome mat.
Until then, my friend will have to wait.
This is the raw truth. Somebody has to say it like it is. Thank you. “The work is IN the work.” I’m posting that all over my studio and especially on the door when I think I need to check my e-mails one more time instead of making a mark on the canvas.
Beautiful writing, Amy, and you captured the heart and soul of “doing the work.”
This is my first official visit as a subscribed member to your site and am loving it already! I found you via a mention and link on Darrell Anderson’s blog, for which I thanked him saying (as copied from my message to him): “The art world out there is too big to discover all on one’s own, and therefore bloggers like yourself who share these links are doing a valuable service!” I look forward, Amy, to your blogs, news and art projects. All the best!
Thank you Gayle. And welcome to the party!
Beautiful raw writing of the process. So true of life itself. And so precious to acknowledge protecting the very vulnerability of our own process in life. Love Amy.
Thank you Julie. I know that many experience something similar. It takes some courage to plunge ahead but well worth the effort. No guts, no glory. Are you drawing? Keep in touch.
Ameee, I is always so refreshing to read your raw, courgeous writing. Few of us risk and then bare ourselves.
Thanks for your inspiration.
Xoxo Sharon O
You’re an inspiration. I’m going to apply this to my movement work which is suffering from lack of just that, “The work is in the work.” mindset. xoxo
Tamara! So great to hear from you. Yes, yes. Get to work!
what an excellent explanation, applicable to all creative processes, and so thoughtfully written! Amy, you are obviously a renaissance woman, excelling in all the arts. i just joined but i already look forward to your upcoming entries. Thank you so much for exposing your fears, and inspiring us with your wisdom. let’s all keep at it!
Well put words Amy. I can just see you in your bombshelter, dancing, shuffling the work around, ideas fairly bursting out of your head. I am totally excited for you and the new work!
I actually like the “FRAGILE” tape, and envy you your studio with a door. My studio is between my ears, and between the crown of my head and the heels of my feet, and I can’t always manage to close the door.