Writer's Block for a Visual Artist

New, Hardly Used Sketchbook
As an artist, I struggle with perfectionism. Once, I painted over a picture while Tamara shouted, "No!"

It didn't meet my expectations. It had to be destroyed.

On another occasion, she wrestled a portrait of Ruby away from me while I was mixing up my favorite ground of white and ochre. I was minutes from erasing it because it wasn't good enough.

"Artists!" she exhaled in frustration, hugging the painting to her chest.

As such, a fresh sketch book acts like a taunting blank beast. Don't get me wrong, I love standing in the aisle of the art supply store flipping through the sketch books, rubbing the different paper weights and textures, but the luxury of some papers intimidates me with their cost and nobility. How could I ever draw on such a fine thing? I'm not worthy.

I know I'm not alone in my struggle. Other artists stare at the blank page and wonder if they are worthy to fill it with ideas.
"Fluffy in Bed" (c) 2015 David Borden

Artists, like writers, can suffer from "writer's block." Believe me, as a writer and an artist, I am painfully acquainted with both types.

I convince myself: "I can't draw right now because I don't have a subject."

Yes, yes, I have said that untrue line on many occasions. Even if one is locked in a cell, there is always a subject, even if it is your own foot or the random images constantly flitting through your mind.

I'll force myself to share these images in order to desensitize myself to the fear of putting work into the world that is less than perfect. But isn't that what a sketchbook is for? It exists for the artist to doodle, experiment, try new things, make mistakes. Take the image I've posted here, as an example. To me it is flawed. It could be better. But no matter how many times I redraw it, it will never live up to my standards, so I must let it go...

Such is life-- my life, at least. I am a sketchbook-- an unfinished product. We are studies, attempts, novel endeavors. And once we think we are a finished works of art, we get ripped from the rings and tacked behind glass for viewing. What a static, dismal life. No, I must keep the sketch book going, page after page. There is so much to see, so much to sketch, and always a new technique to discover.

#sketching #drawing #sketchbook #journaling #art #inspiration #cat #writersblock #perfectionism


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