Thursday, June 11, 2015

Value, Acceptance, Success, Selfishness and Creative Quick Sand.


I slipped into creative quick sand and I didn't even know I had buried myself and my art until I read this blog, The Pale Rook  by Johanna Flanagan.  All I knew was that since my silly milestone birthday in December, I had a sinking feeling.   It was vague, like a misty foggy day that crept in and around me.  

I tried to ignore it.  Power through it.  Push myself to work harder and faster.  

I worked on the wheel more often.  I set goals for production and worked on ways to streamline my work, to make more so I'd sell more.  I tried to come up with new concepts for small sculptures or mini masks.  I worked really, really, really hard.  
But running and pushing and trying to create new work, doesn't work.  

And it didn't really keep that milestone hanging around my neck from weighing me down. I was just hoping to out run it or hide from it.  What I didn't realize until I read Johanna's blog was that the milestone wasn't weighing me down.  

The creative quick sand in which I was sinking had been there for a very long time.  

And, in reading her honest words, I saw I wasn't alone.  These issues are so common and yet, so insidious for women, that we don't see them.  But, we do feel them and they do affect our lives and our art and our work.

Issue #1...Value.  I don't value my talent.  I am constantly depreciating my talent by saying that anyone can do what I do. I never think it's good enough or that I'm worthy enough.  

Issue #2...Acceptance.  I want to be liked.  I want my work to be liked.  I say I do the work that I need to do(and I have) BUT I really, really, really want to hear..."I really like your work.  Your work is so beautiful."

Issue #3...Success and selfishness.  If I make too much money, or charge too much for my work, I'm a materialistic, selfish person.  If I care about making art, that should be success enough, right?  Charging too much money for a piece and it doesn't sell, I'm a failure.  If I lower my prices and it doesn't sell, I'm even more of a failure. 

Wow.  This isn't a milestone around my neck, it's boulders.  Big ones.

I've always made things with my hands.  Doll clothes.  Embroidery.  Jewelry.  Watercolor paintings.  I originally did clay sculptures and masks.  I couldn't throw because I didn't think I could.  My sculptures in clay were medium sizes but I didn't think they were big enough or good enough to show in galleries.
So I did bigger mixed media sculptural work with clay and metal and writing.  It had doors and windows and layers.  I showed and sold in galleries for years but when it didn't all sell, I changed.  

I can see now, that I gradually made my work simpler and smaller and cheaper.

Thanks to Johanna's blog post, I see a light from the depths of my quick sand pit.  And I realize that the milestone isn't a millstone around my neck but a wake up call to lift that old weight off my psyche.  

Once and for all.  

Because after all, my life isn't getting any longer, so maybe it's finally time to quit spending the rest of my time down in this pit.

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