The studio was totally cleared out last week, after shipping and delivering my work to my two current shows. "Cleared out" does not mean "cleaned up" though--the first time I walked in after getting all the work on its way I was amazed at the chaos I'd left behind--tools, wires cardboard and wrapping supplies everywhere.
I put things back in order, which was satisfying, and then got ready to paint. I had some new ideas, and new paints and panels--everything I needed, all set. Yet something was not right. My inspiration fizzled away, and I felt nothing but dull, bored, and blocked. I persisted anyway in putting down some paint, then worked and re-worked and overworked, then wiped it all out and left the studio. And that is the pretty much the story of the past week, with some variations.
Happily, though, a few things have started to emerge yesterday and today that are less dismal, and show some promise and fresh direction. And I also realized that the problem was not just the common experience of feeling let-down after launching a body of work, the casting about for a new start.
The problem was that my studio was just suddenly too quiet. I missed the art party that had been going on there for weeks, when I'd had thirty paintings crammed into the space--all of them either finished or nearly done, and all of them talking to each other--speculating on outcomes, asking questions, making connections. Their energy carried me through the day, and kept me moving, looking and thinking.
It's so abrupt, quite disorienting, to have them all gone. No wonder I've felt a lack of steam. Today, though, I noticed a positive shift when I came in the studio door--several paintings leaning on the wall had come far enough along to start giving off a few sparks. Now is the time for energy to start building again, slowly, day by day.
(The painting above, Hidden, 42"x48," oil and wax on panel, is part of my current show at Circa Gallery
. The opening reception is this Saturday from 6-9 pm.)