….wait for no man.
Such a famous quote and so true - nothing is going to stop time moving on around us and life is so short.
I am a very impulsive person. I love nothing more than a very quick decision. My favourite sort of decision involves leaving the house and going out for an adventure or to visit a favourite place. I am good at ticking things off lists as I like getting things done. I’m always telling my children - sort that thing out now, while you think about it, then it’s done and you won’t have it nagging at the back of your mind.
Why is it, then, that I seem to find everything and anything to do first, before I sit down to paint? I am excellent at procrastination when it comes to things that I am not keen on - exercise, for example - but why would I sabotage my creativity?
On reflection, there are a few things going on which I think a lot of people might relate to.
Firstly, creativity in itself is scary. You have to be very brave to make that first mark on a piece of paper, never mind the next 400 marks.
Before even beginning, for me, there is a tedious march through the past 1000 photos in my phone trying to find something I want to paint, or rather, something that fits the brief of whatever I have set myself to do. This can take weeks.
Bear in mind that in this scenario, no one has asked me to paint anything in particular. I just have things in my head that I think I must paint before a particular deadline…. putting pressure on myself, which I then mentally rebel against. I am fully aware that this is ridiculous, as I only have myself to answer to.
If I feel under any time pressure or not in the right mindset in any way, I find it very difficult to fully engage creatively. I revert back to my teenage self, get very stressed and start telling myself I can’t do it; that what I’ve done so far is rubbish - and question why I ever thought I was any good in the first place.
I might feel cross, frustrated and like I’ve wasted my time. I might cry; I might pour myself a large gin. I might give up and throw my work away or if I feel slightly less on the verge of a breakdown, I might put my work to one side to look at another day.
The last time I picked up my paintbrushes, I had put pressure on myself to finish the painting I had started a few weeks before and start another one, for a project I was working on.
I spent about four hours messing it up and rubbing paint back off before I packed it all away and poured some gin. It’s so very frustrating when that happens. The knock on effect of this means that I haven’t had the courage to pick a paintbrush up since as my confidence in my abilities has been knocked.
I made sure I had no pressures to do anything today so that I could paint.
Could I do it? I spent most of the day searching for suitable photos; looking for various other things I wanted to research online; tidying and even resorted to ironing and hoovering up cobwebs. These are not jobs that are usually at the top of my list!
Inevitably I now feel very frustrated at not having used my time effectively.
The thing I should make very clear is to say is that when I sit down to paint and don’t put pressure on myself to create something very beautiful, I really enjoy it. Really enjoy it. And what comes out of those sessions is not always brilliant, but is usually workable with. That is to say that I am usually in the right state of mind to understand that what I’ve done is created a layer in the painting that I will paint over and perfect later on - instead of looking at and judging it as a finished product before it’s anywhere near finished, which is what I tend to do when I’m in a ‘this is all a waste of time and is rubbish’ mood.
I think I’m hoping that others will say ‘oh, this is me, all over’ and that it’s not just me.
I love productive days. I love productive creative days even more.
I just haven’t had one of those for a while and I’m trying to understand my thought processes - it’s fear, I think, mainly. Of wasting time, of not making anything beautiful. Of missing the boat.
Time and tide wait for no man.
Perhaps I’ll just go to the beach.