Creating abstract art can be a pretty demanding process. At least for sensitive little creatures like me. I am talking about big pieces, big fat abstract paintings. The small ones always feel a bit like coming home for me, but if I am not careful with my thoughts and working process, the big ones will suck every last bit of energy out of me and leave me stumbling through a labyrinth of self-doubt.
Sometimes I really wonder how other artists keep their sanity. Ok, looking at the history of art some obviously don’t.
One artist I recently talked to said: „Well good luck, I stopped painting big abstract paintings when I kept needing two weeks of recovery time and walks along the beach for every finished piece.“
I already found myself at weird states of mind as well. Just a couple of days ago I was collecting all my recently started works for a little late-night fire. Make it a nice big burning inferno, maybe roast some marshmallows and invite some neighbors for a spontaneous party at Joey’s. „Fuck it, I will just burn all this stuff!“ I thought. Never mind the whole being an artist thing, what a crazy idea. Sorry world for bothering you with this, I will just go to study law or finance or something and forget about the whole silly affair.
The rather small and reasonable part of me kicked in at the last moment to stop me from actually throwing everything out. Alright, maybe give it one more night to sleep over it.
The next day I was so mad at the paintings that I could barely get out of bed. They were surrounding me, quietly laughing about my upset teeth-grinding.
I am working on over 10 different pieces in the moment, all about 1m² – some a bit bigger, some a bit smaller. Every inch of my room is covered in paintings, paint, brushes etc, no getting away.
I was staring at my biggest piece on the opposite wall. It stared back at me pitiless, visibly enjoying my anger. Eventually, I lost the staring contest and tried to hide away in the kitchen.
Of course, the real battle wasn’t against the paintings, they are just swatches of canvas with some color blobs on them. It was more of an inner fight.
I am trying to paint intuitively, which means turning off your head completely. It means silencing the inner critique every time it is creeping up again or lurking behind the next corner of your mind, smiling sadonically and whispering „What are you even doing there? Every child could do this! All of this is really crappy and you know it. Stop kidding yourself, pretending you are making art.“ It means turning off every thought, concentrating on shutting up your mind in every new second. Just doing without thinking. Giving intuition room to unfold. It means completely trusting yourself and your inner voice despite every grain of self-doubt creeping around on the inside, even if you are working for days without any satisfying results. Moreover, letting go of the whole concept of working for results, focusing on the process instead.
Eventually, if you are very persistent and a little bit lucky, something that you can completely stand behind will come out of it. If you are willing to take the risk and delve into pure trust. There is another big bonus: if you manage to let go of everything, it also becomes crazy awesome fun!