Getting a firm grip on inspiration is impossible. It comes in slippery, sloppy waves. You want so desperately to dip your toes in, to feel the ocean, to let something mysterious and so much bigger than yourself pull you into the direction you’re meant to follow. But you don’t have that luxury, that choice. The wave rips itself away from you, leaving confusing designs in the sand and suddenly you’re tired and can’t remember why you wanted to get wet in the first place. You grab your towel and start thinking about what to make for dinner. Before you know it that idea you had, that passionate sense of purpose is completely gone, washed away.
So why am I talking about this? Well I don’t know how closely you all follow this blog, but a few months back I made a vow to the art world – I promised that I would make happy art. I talked about how sad I’d been and how making my sad art only helped me temporarily. I’d feel a small sense of relief and then the darkness would come back and settle itself on my chest. I challenged artists to ask why we have to be so depressed or angry to make meaningful art. I thought if my purpose became making art about the things that bring me joy, maybe I could cure myself and arrogantly I imagined that this would inspire others to start doing the same.
Well if you remember that post, you may be thinking to yourself…so where’s all the happy art, Mandy? To which I say to you…it does not exist. I did a couple abstract paintings that lacked meaning. Started on a huge painting that I had high expectations for, that I did not complete. I dove into reupholstering and making over rooms and furniture. But at night the anxiety would come to visit. I’d stay up way too late reading, watching TV, going on Pinterest, anything so my thoughts wouldn’t have a chance to fully form themselves. Besides working on my commissions, I stopped painting altogether. We had a friend come stay with us for a couple weeks, he stayed in my studio and I didn’t even miss it! I didn’t see the point of painting when I didn’t feel like I had anything to say.
This is sounding like a pretty whine-tastic post, but I promise it ends in happily.
Today I feel inspired. For the first time in so long I actually have decent ideas! But most importantly, I want to paint again! I’m a little bummed that I couldn’t be the one to sell happiness in the form of paint and a canvas, but it must be for a reason. So today I choose to embrace my angst, my obsession with escapism, mystery, fantasy. I might finally be ready to pull the darkness out of my body and look at it full on. God knows hiding from it isn’t helping. Wish me luck and look forward to some new art!!
Hi friends! Welcome to the blog! I'm Mandy and I'm an artist, blogger & founder of the "Artists to Know" interview series. Here you'll find photos of my latest art adventures, furniture makeover projects & advice from successful artists!
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