Just when I thought I had a handle on it. When I thought I had my emotional toolbox well supplied. Well, some of the tools need sharpening.
In my last post I wrote about tools I use in the studio. I forgot about the emotional tools until today.
Come into my studio and you’ll see electric skillets, ceramic tools, drills, wire, upholstery foam, beeswax and damar resin. Everything you might need to create the masterpiece. What you don’t see are the gremlins hanging out in the loft hiding behind my spotlights. They like to aim those lights at me and jump down just when things are running smoothly. I imagine them up there, scanning the waters with their high distance lights, crisscrossing the scene below with a steady cadence. They dislike my high vibe mode when my days are buoyed by the life affirming feeling of work, connection and good deeds.
Enter gremlins stage left.
Gremlin #1 popped down when I was working on this painting I eventually called Maiden Voyage. The painting is 40″ x 30″ so it’s not small and it’s not big. It’s manageable. Size is an illusion though and I can never count on anything being “easy”. When I see something that looks easy and simple, I know the amount of work, experience and Gremlin encounters that creator went through. The only exception I can think of is Nature. Though I think she is facing the Gremlins now too. (…mirror time…)
When I start a painting there are no gremlins. The goal is to get something down with movement, color and shape. No hesitation. No brain. All body. Things are looking good and slowly it all falls apart. Now I’m the deer in the headlights. I’ve entered the primordial brain and we’re talking survival. It helps to have other pieces to work on because it confuses the Gremlin. This can go on for days and I need my emotional toolkit handy.
Eventually the painting gets done. That’s what this work is about. Getting done and moving on. Again and again. Hundreds of paintings a year. Some I throw out and others I reuse. A few make it to Instagram and my website. What’s in the toolkit now? Sharing your private battles to the public requires special tools which come in the form of the stories we tell ourselves. They are Gremlin proof.
My favorite to date is this:
This is what I do. And do. And do.
I put Maiden Voyage on Instagram. Wouldn’t you know it. My second highest acknowledged piece to date. Take that Gremlin.
PS: Notice I wrote Gremlins. There are still more in the loft. I think I’ll start a new category just for the Gremlins!