I have been actively working in my studio 5 days a week for almost two months now. It has been a process of ups and downs, questioning, discovering and finding my way. Without any expectation beyond going to the studio and painting I have felt both incredibly free and totally untethered. In the process, I am beginning to develop my work "manual" shall I say.
What I have discovered thus far is this:
I am searching. Looking for the edges. Questioning and thinking my way towards a painting. This is both exciting and uncomfortable. Often, I want the map before I've gone on the journey. I would much prefer figuring things out with my head first so I can have a fine, intelligent body of work created in a smooth and effortless fashion. I want the proof that my paintings will work. A solid return on my investment. Therefore, instead of painting, I "prep" for painting with my head by meditating, reading, studying, drawing, or even leaving the studio. This feeling may often be followed by an internal crisis and feeling of depression. Not quiet the feeling I am looking for.
What I am learning from this is that I cannot lead with my head, I must lead with my heart. And my heart is directly linked to the process of painting.
What I am trusting instead is work. The process of picking up a brush, or pencil and starting to make marks creates its own momentum. Suddenly....or slowly, ideas pop into my head as I work. When I follow those ideas, I come up with the most unexpected results and these results are satisfying. I also begin to see the thread of connection that is unfolding before me. I know that this process is true, as I have followed it many times before. Its funny how now, when there truly are no distractions, I create my own distraction by distrusting the process. Ironic. Yet, when I follow this simple rule of "just paint" I am rewarded with unexpected discoveries and a true sense of accomplishment.