Thursday, 2 June 2011

Frustration and Working Through It

Feeling uncreative and attempting to get to the other side of it is something that many artists complain of, and I'm no different. The last couple of weeks have given me opportunities to paint, much wished for as I've struggled to find that time. Having found the time it is easy to imagine the despair of producing nothing of any merit, even in my own limited view. Oil painting in the Lake District produced more canvas wiping than I've ever done before. Watercolours were so weak and insipid that they hit the bin. How to get over it became the question?

Strangely enough the potential key to unlocking the impasse as I watched a late night film about the White Stripes. During the course of the programme Jack White was interviewed and made a very clear exposition of the relationship between work and creativity. Work is the answer. I awoke to the self evident thought that I need to work harder.

Going back to first principles is often a good way to re-focus on what is important in one's work. I decided to look through some of the books that line my shelves and pick out one or two that related to the type of subject matter I had been attempting in the Lakes. The book I ended up with was one by the Welsh artist, David Bellamy. In there I found a demonstration piece that gave me a chance to do some basic exercises in landscape rendition. The resulting effort is pictured below and whilst not perfect is a lot closer to being acceptable than other recent work.

Pembroke Coast - Watercolour on Rough paper 14" x 11"

4 comments:

Caroline said...

Hi Mick, you are not alone with the problem of no inspiration and creating a pile of uglies day after day! It is especially frustrating when you have put aside time especially to paint! Don't worry Mick you are right if you have put aside the time to paint then you must! I think doing the David Bellemy exercise will help you get the practise in. Could it be that maybe you had had too long a break away from the painting. Watercolour especially needs constant practise. Maybe you are setting your goals for the painting time too high! plan to do a sketch that day and then simply walk, and sit and gaze at the world about you. Often we are tense and feel we must create a painting in the time given to us but the spirit of creativity has other ideas and we cannot master it! A very nice watercolour painting exercise Mick. Look forward to seeing more work when you feel ready to sketch and paint again.

Mick Carney said...

Caroline - Thanks so much for the wise words. I'm having a period where I have a lot of things happening and my concentration levels are not sufficient to do my best work. Hopefully some daly discipline will get me back on track.

Peter Ward said...

Painting is a thing of ups and downs Mick but the wise advice I was given years ago was, regardless of setbacks, don't stop painting! We all get periods when nothing seems to go right and despair begins to set in. You do seem to have been in a period where other distractions have reduced your painting activity and this is bound to have a (temporary) effect. At least thats how us lesser mortals (like me) see things!

Anyway after my serious ( I wish we had emoticons on here) bit let me say I like the painting. I'm not a great fan of David Bellamy as his paintings are too pretty for my taste but he is an accomplished artist with many followers. Now get the next painting started.I had a failure yesterday - so
what - already planning another go at it.

Mick Carney said...

Peter - Thanks for your encouragement. I'll get through this painting trough by slogging away at it although I'm not expecting big improvements too soon. However it's still fun even though there's lots of frustration. If it was easy it wouldn't be worth the bother.