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  • Writer's picturematilde tomat

just anxious

This is not an easy post to write.

But every time I am trying to push my boundaries within my experimenting and mark-making exercises and experiments, I feel anxiety. Not during, but after, in the evening, when I am relaxing. Allegedly after I have finished. I am sitting there, glancing on the painting still wet, and I get this massive knot at the top of my stomach, my head gets really hot and fuzzy and here it comes: the anxiety.

I have been watching some tutorial videos lately and I have noticed how anxious and controlling I feel during them. There is this artist / mentor / teacher from the USA, Pamela Caughey (here) and I like what she does, I like the way that she does it and to be totally honest I have “copied” some of her mark-making and implemented them with mine. I am learning a lot from her videos, but gosh how anxious I feel!

I really love her under-layer, that first playful and fun and happy-go-lucky in black, crayons, pencils, graphite, hands… some sensual black ink. Absolutely GREAT! And when I look at her and her easiness I can still notice the balance, the rhythm, the coherence in her marks. Beautiful! I could hang that on my wall. So, my mind tells me: stop, now stop, you don’t need to add anything else. Leave it, go out, have a coffee, chat with friends, go on holiday, leave it.

But, no! The second part begins. When all of that amazing black marking is covered in blotches of incoherent colours! Why, oh why?! My heart is screaming. No, please, don’t! You are ruining it, you are covering some amazing stuff, lost forever, gone! It was just so perfect, delicate. There was a sign, a mark… I felt so protective and there she goes, covering everything! And here I am thinking: that’s it, done, ruined it forever. Chuck everything in the bin, like a kid on a tantrum! I told you: stop working on it! But no, you thought you knew best…

And then, out of all this blotching, blocking, covering, layering, repeating, mono-printing the most beautiful thing appears!

It looks balanced, enticing, alluring. You can notice the craft of good design: contrast, a touch of something unusual, harmony, a balance in the weight of the whole piece and within single sections; the allowing of Prägnanz: nothing is too redundant, nothing is too much.

Then, my soul is at peace.

But I cannot help but think how can I address and then cross that second phase in my own experiments because it just feels so difficult: my left brain won’t shut up and tries to control my hands and space. I approach the paper with already an idea in mind of what I want it to become, how it should look like: a window here, a shore, a view, a person.

I feel constrained, blocked, frozen.

Good, this is a good place to be. Off to work, then!

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