My desire to draw, paint, create, take photographs and so on doesn't really stop. The desire is here, every day. However, desire alone is not sufficient to make art, and often depression, guilt, anxiety, chronic pains, or fatigue comes in my way.
Last week, amidst deep depression, joints pain, fatigue and migraines, I decided to push aside the guilt that tells me I should be doing x, y and z and I allowed myself to draw. The 'trusted' way...
In 2016, along with my discovery of Instagram, I understood my own way to make art as a practice. I scroll through references images and I let myself be arrested by an image that pulls my attention at that moment. Soon, I collect a few images that call for me. I pick a few elements I want to work with, and, slowly I sketch out a sort of drawn collage which becomes the basis of that piece. This technique is what I used to fill out my two previous sketchbooks (click here to see sketchbook#1, here for sketchbook#2).
When I pulled my current sketchbook, I saw that I had already sketched out three concepts. So it was easy for me to just run with the first one and use what was already sketched. I simply looked for the reference images again and I tweaked a few things on the composition. Soon I was drawing my initial sketch.
Lately, depression is running wild with comparisons between myself and all the other artists I see on Instagram ('look how much they produce, posting every day!') and on what I ought to be doing as an artist ('do! do! do! practice! practice! practice!'). I got caught in the Instagram game: the necessity for external validation on what I make and the idea that I can only be an artist if I sell and work as an artist full time.
As I was sketching, I realised I had missed making art. I miss drawing without thinking about anyone else but me. So I played around with the sketching. I pondered as to what my composition needed. How big the moon crescent should be? Does this moon crescent really translate what I am trying to express? Not sure... I feel like something is missing in this piece.
Soon, the voices of depression started to quiet down a little. Instead, I heard my brain cells making a realisation: I lost myself lately. I lost my creative voice.
Well... Time to reconnect with my core self!
I make art because I want to use this medium to express things differently. Words can only go so far and people can choose not to listen. It is much harder to not see or un-see something. So showing my inner world through art makes sense to me. Making art is my way of translating what I feel and gifting it to others. I am showing what others can't see, or never thought of looking at.
I do not need to make art every day to satisfy the social media gluttonous Gods, because I don't really care about whether someone likes my art or not. What matters to me is whether someone feels my art, sees it with their whole being. I am interested in people connecting with a part of themselves through the images I produce. My dream would be that people can use my art to show what they feel to others when all other means have failed them.
Pencil or pen, when drawing this fawn head, and naked torso and hare corpse, I was just feeling like myself again. I was reconnecting with my art. I forgot about the 'have to' and 'ought to' and I was immersed in drawing. The voices of the depression quietened for a while. I even felt less of the migraine pain.
I completed the inking and to this day, I still feel like something is missing in this piece. I can't put my finger on what that is. I also wonder how hung up on that I should be. After all, this is my way of practising my own art so it doesn't have to be perfect. The advantage of your own art is that you have all the rights on it. So if I want to have another go at it in the future, I can.
I did wonder if I wanted to add gold or not. More importantly where and how. I decided to leave it bear, raw, without anything to 'lift it up'. It can be just as it is.
Although the marks on the paper are permanent, my feelings about this piece do not have to be. My feelings may oscillate between satisfaction and frustration all they want. That was the whole point of this piece: to connect with myself, with what I feel. Art is simply the mirror of our inner worlds.
I may have figured out what this feeling of 'something is missing' is all about. It is simply what I feel lately constantly. I just feel like something is missing in my life. I don't know what and so I don't know how to obtain it. Perhaps, as with this piece, I will find a way to be at peace with that feeling and to let it be.
Perhaps, what I was missing, was my connection with making art ;)