Friday, July 10, 2009

Crisis of confidence

Above are two pictures from Hilda Kluger's lilac garden in Woodland WA taken this spring.

I know many artist read the Robert Genn twice weekly art newsletter. A few newsletters ago he published a letter from artist Bela Fidel who works in a very diverse style using several different mediums. She wrote about the difficulty of "tearing" new work out of herself. The ideas don't flow anymore but still she must produce.

Here is part of what Robert said in his letter: "Evolving artists often encounter a "crisis of belief." This means a failure of belief in the possibility of one's art connecting and being worthwhile, as well as belief in oneself as a creative dynamo. This crisis, which can lead to inertia and outright failure, is the penalty that comes with knowledge and understanding. It was ever thus, and it's part of the evolution of cultures."

Does this crisis of confidence in being an artist affect all artists? I've certainly spent a fair amount of time in this state. It's very uncomfortable and I don't know what the cure is except to give it some time to pass. I have very little encouragement in my life as an artist. It's always been something I did only on my own and for myself. So I've dealt with the "crisis" by myself as well. It helps to read upbeat writing about artists and how they cope. It all just makes me wonder why I or any other artist keep making art. I know I'll never stop and I'm not in the midst of any sort of crisis at the moment. I am, however, avoiding finishing up work on seven canvases. The finish is always the worst part of it for me--the final 10 percent.

I'm not depressed or discouraged right now. I'm just watching myself avoid painting and finding lots of other things to do. I know I'll get back to my paintings because I won't start anything new until I've finished the started or nearly finished ones. The ideas for new paintings are still coming into my mind and the impulse for something new is still healthy and "on point". I am very patient with my process. Like I have a choice? OK, enough introspection for today!


Jo Reimer said...

You certainly aren't alone, Jan. That crisis of identity affects us all, as does the lure of doing anything except the art. Have you read The War of Art? Do read it. Resistance is the real monster in the studio for me. I resist getting started... every single day I feel resistance and fight it... but I never seem to be able to end the war. I need to finish the book; maybe the answer is there.

Jan Heigh said...

Hi Jo;

I think I did read the War of Art but don't remember much about it. If you find the answer let me know.

Resistance---yes I feel that most days too.I know the answer is out there and I'll just keep looking for it!

Thanks for writing.