On swearing at imps (in Spanish)

Oh my goodness, I’ve had an afternoon with imps even worse than the little friendship imp that’s gone down the well I wrote about before.

This is the high-art-low-art imp.  What a little ratbag it is!

After a morning catching up on some serious emaillage, I downed a bowl of spaghetti and headed upstairs to indulge in some creative time in my little yellow studio.  All the amazing doodles appearing from those on my UnEarth your Creative Nature eCourse have me buzzing and very, very inspired so I thought I’d get me some of that action.

Two small empty canvasses and a big box of paint awaited me, plus a few hours free – the stuff of dreams to us artists.  Heaven!

Except for the little imp, that is.

No sooner had I made a few sketches to get warmed up than up popped the ‘comparing’ imp.  Not a problem – I have the smarts to deal with, that one – as I wrote about before

But lo, just as I sent that one packing than another, more scary one came up.

The one that’s been perched on my shoulder since my art degree, drawing a line between ‘high art’ and ‘low art’ and trying it’s damndest to stop me throwing glitter all over everything.   

The little GIT.

See, I just love all sorts of art that my lecturers would have cringed to behold and dismissed as nonsense.  To me, grassroots, folk and women’s art have a magical quality to them that really moves me deeply.

Except when I try to do it.

Then, I think I’m just mucking about and not really doing art at all.

Now, I can draw dancing Goddesses on cards, or in my journal, I can chuck glitter on doodles and have so much fun – but when I try to paint in this style on a proper canvas, this imp of doom chimes in.  Worse still, I seem to believe what it’s saying – huh!?

I realised I’ve been leaving those canvasses blank for MONTHS because I didn’t want to deal with that imp.  Not even a little bit.

Not to be turned aside, I kept on painting and having a chat with myself at the same time, as you do.  I told myself about all the creativity-killing stuff like the art ‘market’, partiarchy, academia and the media, who have drawn a false line between proper art and art us silly girls do in our spare time for fun. 

Frida Kahlo probably had the same imp, at least I like to think so. Judging by her prolific output of awesome art, I’m guessing she found a way to tell that imp to vete para la verga!  I asked the picture of her I have on the wall how to do it, but she just smiled and looked gorgeous like she always does.

I was horrified at how thoroughly I’d internalised this nonsense!  I know it’s nonsense, but when it’s in under your skin it’s hard to ignore.

Picasso said he spent his whole life trying to paint like a child again.  Even land art, which I do without trouble, is folk art, grassroots in the truest sense – something little children do instinctively.  There is no line between what I’m doing and ‘real’ art.  It blinking IS real art!

Where do I go with this?  I’m going to be honest, I really don’t know right now.  What I DO know is that where discomfort lies, that’s also where the good stuff is.  I can’t ignore the scary stuff because at the other side of it are some wonderful artworks waiting to be made.

I know that I must keep digging and keep facing down this little imp.  I will have to swear at it in Spanish (this does seem to help).

Thing is, even though it’s really uncomfortable, I have to admit that I can’t wait to see where this takes me! 

PS  I’ve started a painting that made me smile all over, whilst me and that imp were chatting.  Watch this space!


On swearing at imps (in Spanish) — 16 Comments

  1. I think I get a visit from this little Imp too! He is doing the rounds lately it seems! And you know what? He is from a magical kingdom in my mind and I kinda like it! I like it sooo much, I am even painting this magical kingdom, coz not only is the little ‘git’ existing in this magical world, So are many other characters, who are positive, fun and beautiful. I have been recently introducing myself to them all. xx

  2. It’s curious that you found inspiration in Spanish; I, by contrary I try to translate my art to English; ;)(“Dificil pero no imposible” espero que eso ayude)I found that magic can be present in my quotidian everyday.

  3. I think the very best and bravest teachers have a certain gutsy transparency about their own process, and I loved reading this post – I try to sketch something once a day and last night it looked all kinds of wrong, but I make myself keep it, “I’m learning!” I say. Love your images as you write!

  4. I do believe if someone had told the pre Raphaelites not to draw goddesses prancing the world would be a sadder place. Granted they didn’t chuck glitter on them, but I bet if glitter had existed then they would have! 😛
    These imps visit me frequently, so it’s nice to hear when they take a holiday and visit someone else! 😀

  5. I have a ” you’ll never do anything arty” big imp as a “gift” package from the Art Dept at school. He’s got smaller and I’m beginning to realise that art is not just painting a pair of shoes on a flat piece of paper. It helps to realise that people I consider as “proper artists” also have these little beasties chirping in their ears. I’ve also recently discovered I can draw a bit better than I thought and am learning to take the good feedback. Thanks for sharing x

  6. Thanks Cheryl – and hasn’t your drawing blossomed so much since you told your imps to go bye-byes 🙂

  7. I do paint al the time, it helps me in different ways, but sometimes you just have to stop….watching the move miss potter always make me want to paint. Art school can mess with you, after painting for 10 years I. Thought I should do art school to be a REAL ARTIST well I went a few steps back wards
    about 2 years after art school , Only know I feel back where I was before art school,
    But I did learn a lot there…..

  8. Somebody once said to me ‘art school pulls you apart and doesn’t bother to put you back together again’ – I have a feeling that’s it’s purpose! It’s a powerful tool, but not all survive 🙂