Ever caught yourself repeatedly doing something but never really knowing why or lacking in some sort of verbal framework to explain it? I have. Earlier today I had a moment where I questioned something I find myself repeatedly doing without understanding exactly why I keep doing it.
As I’m nearing the finish of my current ACEO series, “Koi Pond”, I caught myself thinking about not my next series, which I already have planned but rather another one of these little one off pieces I find myself doing in between series or major projects. I already know that I’m gonna do one. I even feel myself getting a bit eager to finish Koi Pond just so that I can. But up until now I never questioned why, I just did them. So today I asked myself “Why?” Why not just get crackin’ on my next project? Why do I keep doing these one off pieces for nothing more than just the benefit of being able to do them? And then it hit me. I’m doing what seems best described as “clearing”. Now you’re probably wondering what I mean. Well, as I thought about all of this it occurred to me that whenever I’m working on a project or preparing for one, I get a lot of creativity anxiety built up within. All types of anxiety starts swirling around such as “How am I gonna pull this project off?”, “Do I have what it takes to actually pull it off?” or “What if it doesn’t turn out how I imagine?”. Stuff like that gets stirred up in my internal feedback and I get all clinch jawed and knotted at the back of my neck. And no matter how many works of art I complete with satisfaction I experience this rush of creative anxiety. So when I do these little pieces of what I’m now personally calling “clearing art”, free of any expectations or intentions, a lot of that anxiety clears out. Doing them is like opening a pressure valve that allows all of that pinned up creative anxiety to escape and gives me time to reassure myself of my capabilities. After which I feel more focused and ready to tackle a new project.
For a moment there I was beginning to wonder was this some kind of odd quirk of procrastination of mine because I just couldn’t see myself jumping right into my next project. I literally feel compelled to do this which prompted me to question myself. I now see that I need this. It’s just the way that I flow. I need breaks of creativity that are free of expectations to recollect myself before I start on anything new. I guess all artists really do have their own unique processes when it comes to their craft and this is just a part of mine. You have to honor your process. 😊