So here’s what happened. Last weekend I was working on the biggest painting of my series (1m x 1.6m). I was certain it just needed a few final touches. I was determined to resolve it (dammit) and was under the illusion that it was nearly there (it wasn’t). The more I worked on it the worse it got, the more I started to panic and doubt myself. Nothing made sense anymore, I couldn’t see the wood from the trees and no amount of composition or colour theory was able to salvage the situation at that moment. It was nearly midnight by the time I had concluded that it was a lost cause and that perhaps I was Not An Artist after all. I even lost half a night’s sleep as a result!
“When we stop fearing failure, we start being artists” Ann Voskamp
So what had happened? Until then I’d been happily working on my other, smaller paintings, not feeling much pressure for any of them, they were evolving nicely and a few were looking like they were almost done. It took me a while to unpick the thought processes that had led me to a mini-crisis which I felt deep in the pit of my stomach.
You see, of the 16 paintings I’ve been working on for the Windsor Contemporary Art Fair, 14 of them are either 50x50cm or 30x30cm panels. One is a bit bigger. And then there is this massive one. THIS BIG ONE was going to take up the WHOLE of the back wall of my stand at Windsor. That’s a big risk and a lot of pressure on one painting! I was betting the ranch on this and it needed to be the best, the most fantastic, perfect masterpiece of a painting. And as a result, it was becoming anything but!
No wonder I seized up! My desperation to bring the painting to a successful conclusion caused me to resort to overthinking, timidity and comparison! A complete block to creativity. It was actually an immense relief to realise this and it was the first step to overcoming my tortuous creative impasse. So, I rowed back from the “it’s nearly finished” mindset and spent 10 minutes going slightly mad with it, having fun and taking it from 90% finished to only 50% finished. To further take the pressure off, I started another large-ish one (1mx1m) and really let loose on it. Phew! Sanity and creativity restored (for now) and I’m back on track.
The mind games we play with ourselves as artists are the biggest obstacle to success. One day, I WILL get out of my own way!! 😁
To see what all the fuss is about, come and visit my stand at Windsor Contemporary Art Fair 10-11 November 2018 with a Private View on the 9th, 6-9pm. If you sign up to my newsletter here: http://www.kasiaclarke.com/contact.html I’ll send you a free ticket!