The Post-Creative State

There were a few points leading up to the Artist Project this year where I looked around at the paintings in my studio and thought, “wow, I have done a hell of a lot of painting.” And I did. I really did. I shocked myself quite a few times with the volume I was able to produce before the show.

Which is great! Fantastic! Best-case scenario! Some of those paintings had been sitting around half-finished for years. And that’s not to mention the new paintings that were conceived and realized all within the last six months. I did it. I finally had the body of work that I’d been conceptualizing and working towards for a very long time. Essentially the body of work I wished I had completed for the 2017 Artist Project, but such is life I suppose. (I’m usually late for everything anyway)

But now… Well… Now what?

Not that I mean to dismiss what I’ve done or the significance of it to my artistic practice, it’s just that… well… I’m a little stuck now. It’s the post-creative state. That period after you’ve put so much time and thought and energy into creating something. When it’s finally finished and you can breathe for a second. And it’s… a little anti-climactic. It feels (though this is certainly not the case) as if it all matters a little less now that it’s done. You’ve reached the finish line aaanndd whiff. There’s almost a sense of loss…

It’s hard to get that pace back. That drive, that push. And I want it back, believe me. But I’ve been really struggling with creating since the show ended. Ok, I’ve STARTED nearly a dozen new paintings, but finished, uh, two? Two small ones? I certainly don’t need that; more unfinished paintings. And one thing I’ve learned is that starting a painting is a thousand times easier than finishing it.

What’s the solution? What’s the answer? I have no idea. I guess if I knew, I wouldn’t have to write this or feel this way. One could certainly argue that this, this lull, this low-period, is necessary and a vital part of the creative process. It’s certainly recurring, and that would certainly be comforting. But who can say? Maybe one day I’ll get over this and be able to keep going and going. I’d like that. One day. But as much as I’d rather it wasn’t this much of a struggle, I think I just have to struggle through. Keep painting. Keep trying. Today. Tomorrow. And the next day and the next and another day.

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