Friday, May 09, 2008

Good Sad

I started a new piece yesterday. But the picture I saw in my head seemed too difficult to put on paper, and I felt daunted. After months of not sketching, everything felt contrived and awkward. I even had to relearn all the shortcuts for my drawing software.

That's how long it's been.

I wonder if other artists have felt this way too.

Do you ever look back on your best work, and think, How on earth did I do that? Will I be able to do it again? Was it just a special, one-off burst of talent that's disappeared into the ether? Who was the person who made this?

So I was killing time with one of my (current) favourite pastimes, surfing Youtube. Somehow, while hopping between Dusty Springfield, Meredith Brooks and Paula Cole, I stumbled upon I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab by Cutie. The song is lovely, but the video I found just made me cry and cry.

I can only guess at the happenstances and moments that led to this little animation touching my heart. Reading Watership Down when I was 10, the death of my dog on on an early Sunday morning in 2002, resting my hand on Mao the rabbit's chest minutes ago and feeling the rapid pace of his heartbeat, the similarity of the drawings to one of my favourite children's books, Guess How Much I Love You, thinking about people thinking about their loved ones, and how it is so much harder for the ones left behind.

The first time I watched I Will Follow You Into The Dark, I cried so hard that I made a pool of tears on my desk and had to mop it up with my shirt.

Personally, I draw a lot better when I'm a little melancholy. I don't know why that is. I can only guess. Perhaps when you retreat into a shadow place, and all you can do is ask, "Why?"; when the noise of the world is cut off and your guard is down and you're not a busy-bee distracting yourself with the routine of living, some darkling self, a Hyde to your Jekyll, feels comfortable enough to emerge, and with him comes something, a spark, an idea, a work that you didn't know you had inside you.

Regardless of how it happens, it was good to have that quickstart. I'm drawing again.

3 comments:

Genevieve said...

i always feel like i'm at my most creative when i'm down. that's when i've done some of the works i'm most proud of (stories, song, photographs...)
whatever move you, you know?
i'm stoked to see your new art work :)

Blandwagon said...

Sometimes you look back on your best work, and think, How on earth did I do that? Will I be able to do it again? Was it just a special, one-off burst of talent that's disappeared into the ether? Who was the person who made this?

This happens to me all. the. time.

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed by the ability to attach you tube into your blog. I didn't feel it with the song though. I read about one of the great masters (I can't remember which), who would not eat during a painting project which could take days. Partly because he didn't want to stop, but also because he felt the pain improved his work! Jaymez