All original images and text are copyright 2008-2018 Liz Sweibel

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Today was my first full day of studio work in months.  And it’s new work.

An artist posted a query on Facebook about facing the blank canvas, inviting others’ thoughts.  Reading responses (and not being a painter), I felt a bit alone in my battle to even get myself to the studio.  I don’t mean the practical battle of time but the amorphous, tricky battle of me.  I want to go, I need to go, I don’t go.  Among the fears is something like the blank canvas:  that I won’t know what to do, that anything I do will be awful, that the psychic fallout of that is more than I feel I can bear.  (If I’m in the midst of a way-of-working this is not as substantial an issue; it’s the in-between times.)

I’ve developed strategies to sabotage my self-sabotage, one being to get to the studio very early in the day, before I’ve started any of the negotiating that I always seem to lose (win?).  Another is to set no expectations other than to be there and open.  A third is to allow myself to leave when I am ready, no matter how short a time.  These work.

The new efforts follow on the Japan drawings in globalizing my personal worries.  I am pleased about that.

As I worked today I was also reminded of my compulsion to avoid waste.  This isn’t new but seems to be growing more pressing.  Discarding something because it has become useless to me feels cruel … a rejection, a refusal to allow for its potential.  (A quote from my mother:  “Fuck potential.”  But she was referencing people who “have potential” yet do nothing [ever].  We don’t get points for that.  She was right.)  And/or:   fear that whatever I let go of I will soon need, then have to mourn not having it any more.

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