Recently I finished this painting, "The Vulnerability Evoked in Failing to Capture the Mind's Ceaselessly Combusting Ephemera" and damn it felt good. My focus had been steadily worsening over the past few months and I just couldn't seem to keep a single thought in my head, or stay on task for more than a couple minutes at a time. Quieting the mind was impossible and thoughts were entering and flying out of my head at a rate comparable to a hallucinogenic journey. I was feeling, defeated, tired, weak and desperate to grasp a hold of my sanity above the surface while weight steadily tugged me under. I'd honestly thought I was beginning to lose my mind and started seeking help.
Shifting from a self destructive workaholic night owl into a parent and provider was a hell of a transition this past year and a half. Since becoming a father, my love, dedication, fear and "scatterbrain-ness" have intensified tenfold. Our daughter is incredible, but unfortunately not a sleeper. It'd been 1.5 years and my little gal still had yet to sleep through the night. I'm not complaining, just saying it's been really nice these past couple weeks now that she's learned to self-sooth and finally sleep through to the early morning. Since then, much of my clarity has returned and I can focus on tasks again such as typing this. So looking back, lack of sleep was definitely the biggest culprit. Also, multiple injuries kept me from exercising and my ever-amassing workload kept me from leaving the house/studio very often. No bueno.
I started this particular piece some time ago and put it on the back burner. In hindsight, I suppose I had a hard time getting back to it because it reminded me of all the frustrating roadblocks I was going through that would lead to this end result. Also, more and more time was lapsing since my last series while I conceptualized, sketched and accumulated materials for upcoming large scale and longer-term projects. I'm excited about the upcoming work, but it doesn't provide the satisfaction achieved by a timely completion.
Something weird happens if I don't paint for a month or so. As each day passes it get's harder and harder to get back into it. Fears start to creep in and the self introspection and questioning arises that, unfortunately for me, tends to lean on the darker side. Compound that with the frustration of the business side of art and other hindrances that cloud inspiration and fuel procrastination and I soon begin to over-analyze everything to the point of exhausting apathy. It gets easier to ignore your fears and handle life's boring, sometimes mindless tasks instead of delving back inside your own head to confront everything that's been bottling up and still waiting for you there.
Although I do often enjoy art-making, for the most part it's extremely stressful. The sketching and conceptual side and the gratification of finishing are really the only parts that don't make my stomach seize up and riddle my mind with anxiety. It's not relaxing in any way to constantly confront your fears and analyze, evaluate and dissect yourself and what you put into this world. No happy little trees over here (RIP Bob Ross). That said, I know that being hard on yourself and forcing unrealistic pressures into your daily life is stupid, pointless, and nothing but a self-induced sword over your head, but it's all I know and in the end is the reason my ideas actually come to fruition.
So, I've learned a few things in writing out these thoughts. It's best to never stop producing, try your best not to be hard on yourself, and sleeping is really fucking important.