I drew a portrait of once, on canvas, in pencil. Every time I look at it, I lose faith and walk away. I don’t have the skills or familiarity with my tools to do it justice. I can’t bring it to life.
That’s how I’ve been feeling about my writing, lately.
Smearing and splattering bright colors was a welcome break. I didn’t have to describe what I saw — it was right there already. That’s how Blood on the Water came to be. I knew how I felt, I knew which colors I wanted to use. I knew there would be droplets and splatters. The way the brush glided over the canvas calmed me down. With no concrete goal, there was no pressure to succeed or fail. I had room to learn. The Abstract shapes didn’t insist on one form or another while I figured out brushstrokes, composition, color — and silly stuff like viscosity.
I feel guilty that I’m not writing as fruitfully these days. The last few weeks were great but the well dried up. Blood in the Water stemmed from my guilt and self-threatening — just like staring at a disembodied shark fin. This could be you. Keep going or you’ll die discarded, drowning and alone. None of those emotions were helping me. I had to get them out.
I wondered if others were also feeling stuck, but didn’t want to go nosing into their problems unasked. I posted the following request on social media:
“Tell me one isolated thought that bothered you recently, AND two colors you enjoy seeing together.”
Here are some of the responses, and preliminary sketches I did today.
- “Is this a hair stuck in my throat or am I going mad?” Gold & dark blue
- How to stand up for myself and when to let things go. Blue & silver
- “Am I selfish or self-interested?” Alizarin crimson & phthalo blue.
- The idea that there are far too many creative paths and sometimes a glut of choice inhibits forward movement. purple & aqua.
- Why is my shooting not improving yet?! forest green & dark plum.
- I got annoyed when I should have had more empathy, blue & orange
- Congestion. Black & red.
Here’s hoping I can do these ideas justice.
Painting-mind and painting-hand get stiff and rusty like all unused machinery. Blowing these guys up and adding full color will be challenging. As much as we dedicate ourselves to work, to family, to music or anything — we must step away from time to time. Nothing loosens psychological knots like fresh eyes and a fresh perspective.
“I’ve often lost myself,
in order to find the burn that keeps everything awake.”
― Frederico García Lorca
“I am inclined to think that in one sense we must feel more than others ― yes, doubly more ― since the very attempt to restrain natural promptings entails suffering.”
― Inazo Nitobe