On Guilt

Somebody pointed out awhile ago that I wasn’t uploading as much art. This startled me a little–it’s true, I suppose, but I don’t feel notably less productive. ‘Course, being the neurotic type, I immediately went into a mental cross-examination–WAS I less productive? Was I slacking? Oh, dear god, was I slacking? I mean, I have a pretty strict work ethic during the day, but I do play a fair amount of World of Warcraft on the weekends, and when I’m not doing that, I’ve been reading a lot lately in the evenings instead of burning the midnight oil on painting…was I slacking?!

I might be, I suppose. Consulting DevArt, I uploaded eight paintings in February. Given my tendency to have psychotic periods where I do like a hundred paintings in a couple months, such as last year, that doesn’t seem like a lot. On the other hand, there were eight Diggers, and two book covers and three Ganesh backstory pages and a commission wedged in there, too, and I’m still poking at “Black Dogs” although I won’t swing into full-scale editing mode for a bit yet.

And I did kinda discover an entirely new media and all. Which presumably allows a little slack to be cut somewhere.

On the other hand, nothing yet for March. On the gripping hand, we’re only a week into March, and there were two Diggers and some edits and a cleaning jag and a helping-a-friend-clean jag in there, and the painting that needs to get photographed.

Maybe it’s that my painting ideas at the moment all seem fairly complex. I mean, the last painting took me a week, and that’s quite a long time for me. I could undoubtedly have gotten it done sooner, but it never clicked into frenzy. The squash drummer, for example, took three days, one of which was wasted on a false start, but it DID hit frenzy, so that explains that. But they all have backgrounds, or lots of figures, and they’re all largish pieces, whereas when I’m in a watercolor frenzy, I can whip out a painting a day for a week without stopping, but they’re mostly small figure studies and other such amusements. While I have an idea or two for paintings now, they’re complicated paintings, they’re detailed, they’re nothing I can whip out in a day.

Despite all this–despite feeling that this is a saner and more sustainable process, that these are big and complex paintings–I feel like a slacker. I always feel like a slacker, though. I don’t actually know if there are any artists out there who don’t feel like slackers–presumably they exist somewhere, and perhaps one day I will meet one. I am, as my friends will probably testify, laid back nearly to the point of catatonia, I have almost come to grips with the fact that my brain needs froofy crap like inspiration and downtime and cannot simply hammer out art like a cotton gin on overdrive, but still the nagging voice wells up from the basement of the soul, screaming “Why aren’t you spending every waking hour painting?! You can’t paint when you’re dead!”

I attempt to console myself that as artists go, I am hideously productive, and occasionally it even helps.

Leave a Reply