Burn it Down

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”

-Kurt Vonnegut

A timeline of a creative process

  • Start Here* With a beautiful idea/goal/dream. I have received some sort of creative input from [insert cool Instagram artist my neighbor just told me about] and now there are endless possibilities and a kind of optimism that allows me to go out and buy that giant canvas AND despite trying and failing to find that damn email from Michael’s with the 40% off coupon, I don’t feel even a little bit harried, nope! and to the young innocent clerk, I lie and say “no big deal!” All the while holding tightly onto that *bliss* quietly chanting to myself “get it girl, you got this.”

  • A week or so in. There’s a good base coat of paint on the canvas and inhibitions are still miles off shore, best be safe and not stare too intently in that direction tho. Also far adrift is my original idea, what was it really about? It’s all getting kind of hazy. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe I’ll just keep going and see what happens next.

  • WORK. the good sh*$. The ZONE.

  • Burn it down. Like truly, madly, deeply– I hate it. If there was a way to actually burn it without burning down my studio (littered as it is with paint soaked rags-yikes), I think I would have done it. So instead I paint over, or tear up, occasionally snip snipping it into tiny pieces, anything to move past that feeling of revulsion and despair.

  • (Sometimes I don’t, sometimes I just ride the feeling and give the work some space. )

  • (Sometimes I do. And sometimes after it’s all wiped out, including my sense of artist accomplishment and creative identity, there is emptiness.)

  • Reconciliation. There is accounting to be done, now this relationship has experienced conflict. And for that conflict it has depth and well placed holes in it’s jeans.

  • Wrapping it up. The “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here” phase, that calls for picking up the pieces and making a bit of sense out of my composition and palette. At this point I am usually feeling proud of the work or at least fond of the direction I am headed, there is an end in sight.

  • The end? Hard to say. Phew, this feels like a lot of steps. In reality they can be all mushed up, out of order and repeating! But there usually is an END, and when I am there I almost always (all jokes aside) find release. A sense of “coming through” and catharsis.

What’s creating like for you?