Some artists voice their doubts…I don’t.
I feel them too, sometimes every other day. There are moments where I think “yey”, then the next day I look at my artworks and they don’t look so good.
The question is…are they or not? How can I know? Some days I love it, I’m passionate and know I’m on the right track and then other days it is as if I don’t recognise what I’ve done. Are they even mine? Where have they come from? How can I trust these fickle thoughts?
Yesterday I felt the coherence that I’d been seeking. It all made sense. Why I paint. How I paint. What I paint. Clearly all the composite parts of how I work in my journal, on paper, on canvas and in the print studio, they all are coming together in the newest works. Whilst using dramatically different scales. It all made sense. I felt strong. Yet today they look over complicated, with chaotic colour. It is like they are all fighting and pulling apart.
But I’ve been doing this long enough to recognise this. It’s not madness. It’s not weakness. It’s the place where risk comes from. Risk is essential. Works without risk are formulaic and safe. If I can’t rate my paintings highly two days in a row, then they have further to go. I have to delve deeper to discover what they can possibly be. I understand that they need me to give them more time. Time to paint, time to consider, then time to paint again. Sometimes radical shifts happen. This process hones the work and challenges my thinking. Ultimately so that the work then feels like it’s all me, warts and all, complex, beautiful, poignant, emotional…and I’m happy for it to go out into the world and speak for itself.
So yes, there is a point to doubting, if you seize the opportunity to take on the challenge now.
“The aim of the artist is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Aristotle