Success can be a dangerous thing. I just finished a fun little read (I am voracious fiction reader in my spare time) called Summer School by Domenica Derosa and one of the characters was a novelist who hadn’t produced any work since his bestseller. I can relate.
After I complete a painting that can be called some of my best work, I have this feeling that my art has entered a new level. I start to expect a higher standard. What usually happens is that my next few paintings are duds – technically amateur or compositionally dull. I begin to fear that I will never be able to match my previous achievement, and the brush falls from my fingers.
I don’t think that I regress as an artist, but I think that I do become lazy. I forget that what made that good painting what it was was my hard work – the thought and deliberation that went into the planning and creation – and I expect that since I rose to my own expectations that one time, it will be easy to achieve the next time.
Another block to creating good art is expectation. I put myself under pressure to create art that is sale-able, or competition-worthy, or exhibition quality. That is a big killer of creativity and genius, because it stifles inspiration and makes the opinion of others more important than satisfying my soul.
Sometimes my blog serves as the creativity killer. I hate to admit that, but when I am not painting, I am conscious of the fact that I have nothing to share, and painting becomes a burden – another deadline. It’s a lot more fun to blog when I have something to blog about!
So I am trying to divorce myself from expectations and just create for the sake of creating. I made a fifteen minute sketch yesterday of my daughter, and am going to try some acrylic painting in a more contemporary style, just for fun. And I have some papier mache that is calling me to sculpt – maybe some home decor projects. Creating for the fun of it – and not worrying about whether I can post the results!