Over the last couple of years since I graduated, I feel like I have lost my artistic voice. After 16 years of studying I needed a break, but now I am craving to paint again. It is too easy to brush it under the carpet and let buying a house and planning a wedding take over your life and get in the way of doing the things you really enjoy.
So I set out and found my paints and printmaking materials that got packed away in the move. One sunny summers afternoon I decided I would paint four canvases that could go up in the barn as decoration for the wedding to jazz it up a bit.
I knew what I wanted to do and had a picture in my head of what I wanted to do, so I prepared all my paints and mixed the colours that I wanted and blundered in and started to apply the paint thickly with my hand and a pallet knife as I had done in university. It was all wrong, why didn’t it look like how I imagined?
I realised I was out of practice and out of touch with the way the paint responded to the canvas. A material that always seemed second nature to me now seemed alien. I felt frustrated and annoyed with myself for letting other things get in the way.
I did eventually create four paintings that were acceptable enough to add some colour to an otherwise dreary barn. I knew things would have to change. So instead of blundering head first, I have gone back to basics doing small sketches and painting and working more in sketchbooks. Some of which have been successful and some not so successful, but either way I am happy with the results as it is all practice, and I am learning once again about the materials and ideas within the practice, and best of all enjoying what I am going, instead of getting frustrated trying to execute a ‘final piece’.
I think sometimes sketchbook work is better than the final piece; the spontaneity of a sketchbook is more exciting.
I am looking forward to embarking on my journey through the OCA sketchbook circle that I am now part of.
So all I want to say is try not to let things get in the way of your creative practice even if you just keep a small sketchbook to doodle in, try and do something as I am doing now. Just enjoy what you do.
Has anyone ever let other commitments get in the way of their art practice? If so, how did you overcome them and how did you feel about your work after not doing anything for so long?