Art and Fear: Observations on the perils (and rewards) of artmaking
by Bayles & Orland
This section of chapter 3 reminds me of the many individuals who, upon retirement, find themselves lost. Their identity was their job. Here, Bayles and Orland observe that a dry spell in artmaking would be a serious blow; for a few it would amount to annihilation. I hadn't thought about this before, but it's very true that when I'm forced to attend to matters that take me away from my studio for more than a day I become anxious. Painting IS my purpose and I can't imagine having a dry spell. Maybe I've succumbed to the second observation made by these authors: avoidance. Some avoid this self-imposed abyss by becoming stupendously productive, churning out work in quantities that surprise even close friends. Yup - that's me!
I've definitely confused "doing" with "being" when it comes to art.
But, this might not be unusual. After all, if I stopped making art then a part of me would die (or at least wither). The authors note this, and write that the depth of your need to make things establishes the level of risk in not making them. For me, that's a huge risk.
What are your thoughts?