Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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10/29/2006: "Existential Crisis Part XIII"

First off, I donít seem to be updating this thing much these days. Iím trying to write more about my life as an artist, and less about my personal life (in part due to some creepy emails I got a few weeks back). It cuts down on the things I have to say since I havenít been making a lot of art lately. But at what point can your art and your life exist independently of each other? That line has always been the toughest one for me to draw.

Maybe Iím having an identity crisis. I've been operating so far outside my comfort zone for so long now that I barely recognize myself. Friday night I invited a man over for dinner (gasp!). Sat. night I went to that huge Halloween costume party dressed like a trashy beer maven and danced and socialized with a group of complete strangers. Iím answering my phone. People stop by and I let them in. I go places, do things.

And in the corner of what used to be my studio is a single easel with a solitary painting that Iíve been working on for months and no other work in sight. I met another artist at the party last night who talked about how difficult it was to factor in studio time after working a nine to five job and maintaining a social life but didnít seem that worried about it at all.

I feel very worried. And itís not like I donít have the time because I do. Sat. afternoon I had the entire day free. I could have painted all afternoon if Iíd *wanted* to. Instead I ran errands, visited a friend, and went for a hike. I guess that is my deepest fear. That my *desire* to create is waning. I have gone through many dry spells, but during those dry spells at least I was *trying* to work. At least I wanted to more than anything but maybe the ideas werenít there. Thatís scary enough, but what happens if the ideas arenít there and you start to not care?

Besides, I kind of miss the old me... the anti-social hermit who wanted nothing more than to create the perfect work of beauty.

Replies: 6 Comments

on Sunday, October 29th, marja-leena said

You will want to paint when the moment is right - it will just come naturally. It has before and it will again, believe me! Then you will not open the door nor answer the phone! :)

on Sunday, October 29th, David said

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on Monday, October 30th, Howard said

Long creative dry spells can be really scary. My own work has been at a snails pace through most of the summer. I finally managed to get one painting finsihed. Between my job and the time I spend working on my art my social life is pretty much non-existent and I know it's pretty much the same way for many other artist. Try and enjoy the social time and don't feel guilty about it. When you're ready to paint again it will come back to you.

on Monday, October 30th, Daniel North said

"David's" grammar has a hint of Nigerian to it... watch yourself.

on Monday, October 30th, Daniel North said

It's probably fine, but something still seems "off", even after visiting the links.

on Monday, October 30th, Elise said

Hi Marja-leena!
I'm sure you're right. I know it's normal to feel anxious when things in the studio aren't happening, I should just enjoy being happy for awhile and not worry about it so much.

And Howard...I think the non-existant social life is one of the key ingredients of being an artist. I think I need that isolation to achieve the necessary amount of focus to really get rolling.

When I answer the phone or door or take breaks to do things, I just lose my flow.

I have to say though, I'm having a great time, just in a different area of my life.

And Daniel, I noticed that myself! Don't worry, I think I'll be ignoring old Dave.