flounder, and were not talking fish

I have sort of lost my way these last few months. While it is true I'm not working much at all, I am on call for emergencies seven days a week and I manage to get my share of those to do. The staff is small and I'm available for non-human transport, it's just enough to make maybe $100 a week but it is also just enough to keep me more tied to the phone and less free than I wanna be. How can I complain though, it couldn't get much easier honestly. I find more and more I keep thinking this is the reason or that is the reason for my feeling of floundering. Ultimately there are no real reasons, only those I want to give for some sort of self placation.

Normally I keep my work space tip top unless I have real projects in the making. Lately I find I start something only to start another thing somewhere else in there, in that dark windowless ever shrinking basement. I go in there usually every day and piddle around. Ever glad that the clocks are a continual source of purpose and inspiration. Were it not for them I'm not sure what I would do in there. This is where the floundering comes in. And it isn't anything I haven't talked about before, which is probably why I don't write as much on my blog.

I know that if I were passionate about something I would do it. But I can't help but to think that I need a kicker. A push. A reason. It feels like I've lost my passion to make things when I have no idea anymore what I'm going towards. I can only speak for myself, I realize there have been times in my three+ years of art that I made things just to make them. And I made things for a certain show or gallery or person. I don't feel I have a thing/place/person to make art for right now. If no one is interested the energy feels dead. I can't get excited about paying money to enter a show, paying more money to rent all the shit you need to set a booth up, paying more money to transport all your stuff and then sit on your ass for a weekend and watch people mill by stuffing their faces with food. That has never been and probably never will be a thing I enjoy. I almost dread finishing those clocks because when I've made all one hundred of them I can only imagine how anti climatic it will be. Maybe I should take them to a railroad track and line them up and leave them there when I'm done.

Am I not trying hard enough? Of course I'm not. I'm not driving to Boston and going gallery hunting. I'm not driving to NY or anywhere else. I still have snow tires on and nothing to replace them with, still need $1500 in car work done before I can do that. I should be working my ass off driving the cab but my back and my brain feel otherwise. I keep looking for other job possibilities, keep thinking of things and come up empty. My excitement about the Wonder Horse flops when I realize how much it will cost to have more than a few prints made and laminated. I'm going through with a few prints but a bigger series will have to wait until other priorities have been met. That is sort of how every project feels right now and it begins to scatter my intentions towards everything. More excuses????

It helps to bounce this around with Tod and get his perspective. He at least seems objective and seems to think some of the same things I do about art. And that I need a more supportive environment, and people in my life. I know it isn't all just about money. It is somewhat of a vicious circle. Until something happens I flounder. Until I do something nothing will happen. There is a time when you feel compelled to do something and a time when nothing feels right. In those nothing is right times it is best to take little stabs and see if you get a reaction. Sprinkle the thoughts, the energy around and see if anything grows. I'm still waiting. Watching. Feeling. It isn't a fun place to be in but what else can you do when you have no clue what to do?


Daphne said...

It sucks to lose your creative drive but by now I see proof that you always get it back Paula.

I have lot's of ideas for paintings right now and yet they aren't happening. The canvas is on the desk and I started it last week but somewhere along the way the spark wondered off.

It will be back for you and for me.

gigi said...

isn't this how it goes in life? aching dry spell and periods of great creativity and varying levels of both in between those eras? that is how it is for me at least.

i am certain there will be something that sparks your imagination again soon!

peggy said...

I would hazzard to guess that most artists experience the floundering you speak of, whether they are willing to admit it or not. Most of the time my mind is swirling with ideas but when the time comes to physically express them, poof! they've turned to dust.

Here's a qoute I just came across that seems appropriate:

"I'm not a professional painter, since I don't go to the studio and work nine to five like a lot of artists. When something hits me, or I see a painting, or when I see something in nature, it gives me a thing and I go for it. But I don't care if I don't go for three or four months. You know, when it comes it comes..."
Cy Twombly

self taught artist said...

thanks for the comment peggy.
i wonder if i expressed this right...the creativity seems to want to be fostered somehow by something outside of me. do other artists flounder if they dont have a goal a place a thing to create FOR?
I could keep making art with no problem i think but it feels wrong when i dont know where the hell it is going to GO.
I feel like i need a 'paula show' somewhere. thats the crux of it.

Karen Jacobs said...

I agree with Tod that there are advantages to being around like minded people. Looking at my career line, leaps were made when there was strong interaction with other artists. Alone time is invaluable for the hermit within, but I can see now that since my move from NOLA and the 'real life' support group I enjoyed there, I've made little progress and may even see a winding down. You're not ready for that... you've too much to offer. Wish I had magic thoughts on how to make that support group happen, but just sayin'...

peggy said...

I guess I misunderstood your dilema; the need of a specific goal. What's the point of making if it doesn't get out in to the world? I struggle with that myself sometimes. Make and let go then make more. That's a tough mantra that I tell myself over and over again.

Your thought about putting your clocks back on the railroad tracks is wonderful (I might just adapt that in my own practice). Do it with one of them, document the process and see what happens. It could be cathartic or it could be a bust.

A support group, so to speak, can be helpful. It doesn't have to be with other visual artists, as you never know where human connections will lead.

self taught artist said...

yep, 'a specific goal'
like the clocks, making 100 of them has been a very specific goal and it has fueled me.
i've tried artist groups etc. it isn't my thing and i've yet to know of one getting artists out of vermont let alone into galleries. i dont need to sit around yacking with other artists, i need a gallery that believes in me and pushes me AND my work. I need some project or grant or space...something that supports me both as an artist and in my making of art.
so far the artists i have met aren't keen on helping me connect with their sources. its a koan and it will either drive me crazy, kill me or show me the way in it's own time.