When things don't work...

I've been sick for what seems like years.
Though in reality it has been weeks.
And my ability to do quality work isn't happening ...  doing more harm, than good.

I wonder how many artists go through this?  When we are our own worst enemy ... wanting to be productive,  showing up just like we're supposed to, thinking we are pushing ourselves.

I have made some seriously horrible stuff when I've been in that headspace.
And rather than acknowledge that 'today is not that day' and walk away? I keep wrecking stuff.

Oh! The humanity!

Maybe because we are afraid that what we are confronting is our ineptitude and if we just keep pushing, we'll move through. Or perhaps instead of listening to our inner voice ...the inherent gut instinct... we rely on popular sentiment and think we aren't working hard enough or fast enough or we simply aren't enough.

So we keep bashing our head against the wall.

And we really do know that it's utter crap.
And we really should just ... STOP.

But we don't.


All photos are previous Works In Progess [wips].


Bridgette Mills said...

omg, your label "crap on a stick". haha! i understand what you're saying, but at the same time I guess i fall in the camp of keep pushing forward. That all work goes through a crappy, terrible, no good stage. Actually even paintings that I thought were good enough to send out in the world, often end up being fodder for another painting. You and I both work in layers, so I will look at a "disaster" layer or a "crap on a stick" layer will add a richness to the next layer. This last image at the bottom is fantastic! I hope that's not one that you'd consider crap on a stick. And the other one with the hand and arm at the bottom- love it. Sometimes you might need second, more forgiving eyes.
But having said all that, if you're not feeling it, don't beat yourself up about it. Life is too short!

Just Jen said...

heh. yep. there's been a whole lot of crap on a stick being created the last week or so. and you're so right that pushing forward can result in more richness. only. sometimes ...as in right now, for me... stopping is the right move. because, again, for me right now, there is no intent, no focus, no motive. just a whirling dervish of yuk! xo

Scottius said...

Great post Jen. You asked the question, "How many artists go through this?" Can't say for sure, but I would think most who don't settle into making the same thing year after year would fall into a rut every now and then. Feel like it's our mind's way of telling us we are neither here-nor-there, that it's recharge time. And it's been such a relief when I finally dump something that just isn't going anywhere. Never easy, but a big Phew after having made the decision.

Just Jen said...

Thanks Scott(ius!)! I hadn't thought of The Bashing being a way out of the paper bag (read:rut). I will keep that one in my back pocket when I experience it the next time. And we all know there WILL be a next time! And totally agree ... huge "phew" when I finally let go!

Sweetpea said...

hmmm, could think about your statements for a long, long time ....
but for the moment, can say that I've found in the past that when I get to a "this is really a piece of crap" dialogue in my head and I put the piece away, I've *discovered* later that it wasn't that bad at all. I tend to switch modes of expression when I'm up against the crap block - like, bag the beaded cloth & pick up some knitting ... or give up stitching on the naturally dyed lovely that I'm suddenly trashing & work on the found paper book instead. I don't tend to .... keep going .... as you've described. Maybe you are allergic to giving up - even temporarily ;>]] ???

Just Jen said...

Y'know I had a longtime ago friend who used to call me a "but" person ... "yes, but..." or "no, but..." (which of course I refuted with "But..."!)

My initial reaction to your statement of ..."allergic to giving up"... was to respond, but that's not what I'm doing! hmmmm....

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