Friday, December 26, 2008

Leah, art demons, and fretting

David dropped an email on me today, suggesting that someone might want to read about my creative process. Not after they read this, most likely.

My creative process consists of fretting. I fret about my inability, about the lack of time I have (because I spend so much time fretting, doubtless) about all the people I know who can do the job better than me, about how everything I write/act/draw/whatever is crap, and about how I should be doing all the other, more responsible things in my life instead of whatever creative thing I am doing.

I met Leah today and did a few sketches of her, and took a few photographs. She has amazing eyes, huge and dark and beautiful. Expressive and secretive---Pushkin's Russian eyes. Fun to draw, like drawing a character from "Elfquest" or something.

It's hard to get her mouth right, though. I messed around on paper but it is really elusive. Thick on the top and kind of Greek-looking. But that's what the photographs are for. It's weird-- I used to hate drawing from photographs but now I kind of prefer it. I can be nitpicky and get things on paper better than if I'm working with a live human. I think it's because I assume they are bored out of their skulls, having to sit so still for longer than a few minutes. Actually, what I prefer is looking at the live person, sketching, and then having a photograph to pick at later. This way you get the alive feeling of a model but the accuracy of the photograph.

I look at David's sketch and wonder why it is that he isn't drawing this himself, because he is clearly better at drawing than I ever will be. He's busy, I tell myself. He gets more stuff done before breakfast than I do all week, though. I imagine that everyone does.

I am attempting to channel the art demons. This is what my family jokingly calls the way my mom, uncle, and myself can pour ourselves into an art project for days at a time and not sleep or do much of anything else. Believe it or not, for me it is the most effective way of getting creative stuff done. Eventually I will wear down my own resistance at creation and things will start happening--lines will be learned, stories will appear, cartoons will happen. My dad and grandmother used to do this, too, so I imagine it's an inherited trait from both sides of the family, for me. Manic art creation? I guess. Or waiting for my doubt to get too sleepy to stay up any longer. I seldom have the opportunity to do this anymore now that I have a semi-regular job and I've been looking forward to it, and dreading it, for a couple of weeks now.

My mom used to start her artistic process with a glass of wine. I just whine.

Pat has wisely (and handily) left town until Sunday to visit with our Viking chick artist friend in Toronto and then see some sort of sporting event in Buffalo. The art demons have not yet appeared, despite me attempting to conjure them with coffee and blank paper. I have sketched a few things which look crappy and amateurish to me. I have taken out all of my notes and doodles and David's script and his cartoons and art and the library's copy of 300(damn, I have to renew) and spead them all out on the dining room table. I have put tantalizing fresh pencils and markers and even a Pentel colorbrush and assorted types of paper and bristol there, as well.

I have stared at this altar. The cats have walked over it. And that's it, right now.

The problem is that what is going through my brain is not art demons, but a rather Pekar-ish fret of all the things on my to-do list which have to get done, and soon. I've got to fill out my FAFSA forms (I'm going back to school in the Spring...again!). I've got to draw this couple and their dog and get it in the mail with an invoice. I have to send scripts out to my actors for the reading I'm directing in March, and try to get them all to send me a conflict sheet and contact information. I have to finish a piece of jewelry. I've got to do my CAR forms (these insipid assessment forms that have to do with making sure I'm doing my job as a teacher, instead of, I dunno, showing filmstrips every day or whatever it is bad teachers do). I have to make my syllabi for Spring. I have to write/call that professor again to beg for permission to get into her class without taking the prerequisite. I've got to go online and order all of my books.

I've got to print out new copies of my transcript request forms and fax them in to KSU and TESC because Pat left the forms I gave him to fax at work and he won't get back there until Tuesday. I've got to finish learning my lines for Twelfth Night. I've got to get back to Matt about his February show. I've got to get a costume guide together for the pirates. I have to find a pocketwatch, a pair of opera glasses and a sniper rifle, or items which look like all of the above, for props. I really should paint the foyer.

Other house stuff. Other school stuff. Other art stuff. Other theatre stuff.

Oh! And I have to drop a note to Josh--when is he gonna film my hands?

But what is currently keeping my art demons from the task at hand is they are all wanting to work on Conspiracy Theory. Stupid art demons.

Conspiracy Theory is a play I'm working on which is getting a reading over at Oddy Fest in January. I'm very unsatisfied with it, as I am with everything I have ever done, and I can't stop picking at it. The actors came over and had the first read-through here a couple of days ago, and this is what is consuming the creative bits of my brain which have not yet been steamrolled by OMG YOU SUCK feelings. If I work on it for an hour, maybe I can get it off my mind.

I'm going to try that, and if that doesn't work, I'm going to get on the internet and look for other Derf reference material. And if that doesn't work, I'm going to set up a splatter zone in the basement and screw around with Frank Miller. That sounds much kinkier than it actually is.

Did I eat today? I can't remember, so that's probably a good sign.

Okay, whining over. Work now.

Now, I said!

1 comment:

pengo said...

I'm not busy. You're better.