Lately, I was going through some of my very old work, and after a few minutes, I turned into that young highschool boy, so delighted with his newfound passion that the drawings kept just coming, one after the other, non-stop. I was in an automatic flow, and I could hardly stop drawing.
Now, these were simple pencil drawings, and they really weren't any good at all, but for me it was enormously satisfying to be able, one way or the other, to make my ideas and desires real, at least on paper.
Later on, as I became a professional, I sometimes found myself looking for that exact same flow. I found it, most of the time, and throughout the first say, twenty five years of my career, I never had a problem coming up with ideas, and putting them to paper in a reasonable tempo. Also, I started to get deadlines, which also really helped.
But then, after some forty years in the business, I encountered my first 'writer's block'
or artist's block, in my case I guess. That was scary, and it lasted for months. I fought through it by mainly making standard drawings, rehashing old ideas. Here also an interview with Bishop comes to mind, in which he confesses that at some point in his life, he: '...had forgotten how to draw...'
And although he and I both overcome these problems, you remain conscious of the fact that it could happen again.
Now, to prevent that, at first I started to look for the flow again with a passion. And sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't. I had a few relapses, nothing serious, but enough to point out that I hadn't found trustworthy medicine yet. And then, over the years I started to realize that the flow is actually an impossible concept in the way I work today. I discovered that what works best for me now, is taking rest every now and then. Short breaks, to empty my head, or to lie down for ten minutes, to relax my body.
Sometimes, mainly in the developing phase, in the actual sketching, I experience a remnant of that favors flow from fifty years ago, and yes: I do miss it. But that is made up for by the enormous amount of satisfaction when I have finally finished a piece
and I am totally happy with it! To every age, it's own advantages.
Until next time,
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