Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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08/20/2004: "Slump Grump (Are we more creative when we're up or down?)"

I read an article awhile back by Sylvia White called If You Are Addicted about living with an artist. She mentions that:

"Most artists I know go through classic symptoms of withdrawal when deprived of their work environment for too long. They get grouchy, irritable, may suffer from physical complaints such as headaches, body aches and often times find themselves depressed for no reason."

When I read it I didn't think much about it. I lived with an artist for many many years and he was just generally a moody guy. Of course, I'm an artist too and also just happen to be a very moody person...I don't know if our moodiness is related to being artists or just a coincident. Also, he was my best friend and we knew each other well enough to know when to leave the other alone and it seems that most of the time I was up when he was down and vice versa. That usually worked to our advantage in that I could pull him out of the depths somewhat and he could do the same for me.

I have two different ideas about depression and productivity. One thing, when I get, (for argument's sake let's use the work "manic") it can express itself in hyper creativity, which is excellent, or I can get really physically active and social, which means not being home very often which means not getting any work done in the studio.

On the other hand, when I go through a depression...there are degrees to it. Sometimes it's just generally feeling the blues or feeling sad and that often makes me not want to be around others and sometimes makes me actually more productive creatively because it's a kind of outlet.

Then there are the deep dark black nasties, which are not at all indusive to getting work done. These are just spells of feeling kind of blank. Not sad so much as not feeling anything and being lethargic and not being able to concentrate or think that clearly and just wanting to sleep a lot and avoid everything and everyone.

Iím not sure which state Iím in at the moment, but I am more aware now of how moods affect my ability to work. I have all these blank canvases at home and Iím not doing anything and I find that I am getting pissy and that I feel anxious and antisocial and the longer I go without working the worse it gets.

I have promised myself that no matter how much I want to avoid it, I WILL at least squeeze some paint onto a pallet this weekend. And if I donít do any painting, at least I will try to draw something, or work in PhotoShop, SOMETHING to get the juices flowingÖcause right now I feel decidedly prunish and Iím not much fun to be around at all. (Plus Rick is living in DC now so he isnít here to help push me out of it)