View Full Version : postpartum blues

Cathy Morgan
10-05-2003, 02:02 PM
Have been excited the last two or three days as I approached the moment when I look at the two bowls I've been working on and say "OK, you're done."

It came this morning - and my excitement vanished. I noticed that immediately I started looking at both bowls with a critical eye. "Well, they are what they are," I told myself. My plan is to do some empathic responses to them tomorrow, which will probably enable me to see them in a positive light.

My problem isn't so much that I really believe they're bad, or at least, not the best I can do now. I think that's just a kind of knee jerk reaction that's best ignored. It's more the sense of emptiness that I didn't anticipate. It makes it hard to celebrate.

I know (intellectually) that this is typical. The solution most often recommended is to have new work already started when you finish something. I had this in mind, but it seemed to take all my available energy to finish these two. And my space is so small that it's difficult to have many pieces in progress at once.

Anyway - here I am. Any suggestons?

Cathy Morgan
10-05-2003, 10:18 PM
Forgot to give a link to an explanation of empathic responses (http://radio.weblogs.com/0120691/stories/2003/03/20/empathicResponses.html) to artwork.

Am feeling better. Went to a good play this afternoon, then took my partner out to dinner to celebrate finishing the bowls. Watched half of a DVD this evening and drank a celebratory beer.

Looking forward to starting setup for photography tomorrow.

Am still curious as to how others prepare for and/or deal with the natural letdown that can follow finishing work that's taken a long time.

Rose Queen
10-07-2003, 09:45 PM
While I can't speak for all other artists, I do think your reaction is pretty typical; certainly, it's typical of mine. I've become a strong believer that one can probably never produce exactly what's in one's head, so one has to learn to like each piece for what it is and not what one hoped it might be. I have to put stuff away for a week or so in order to "forget" what I expected and be able to really "see" the piece. And, yes, it's way easier said than done! :rolleyes:

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10-10-2003, 09:58 PM
I never like anything i've done once a couple of days, or less, have gone past.
probably a good thing, otherwsie there'd be no impetus to 'can do better' the next time, it's like having a school report in your head after a while...
if i'm painting, i'm not sketching, if i'm sketching, i'm not painting, so usually i know when somethings going wrong/well for those reasons, and from one or the other comes something i want to do.I usually have loads of ideas for paintings, but only one or two make it past the 'oo, thats a good idea' to actually being implemented, and it's only recently that i have actually had something to go on from.
my energy for doing something usally wanes before i finish too, but i do my best to do it, usually 'not good enough, could have done better', but best i could do at the time.
then, when i think that that is the absolute most i can do without wanting to slash it to bits, i leave it, go make another stretcher, and forget it ( still look at them occasionally and hate them) but mostly, i ignore them then, and think,well, there's the next time....

Cathy Morgan
10-10-2003, 10:28 PM
Now I'm struggling with relearning how to take slides of my new work. Aargh! One frustration after another. I need to wash my attitude off and start fresh.

Really, I have much better equipment than I've ever had before - real light stands, lights with handles so I don't burn myself or have to wear oven mits to adjust them. A boom stand so I don't have to hold the light over the bowl with one hand and push the cable release with the other. So it's pretty pitiful that I get so frustrated and gripey trying to learn to use the new stuff.

Everything is new and awkward. I keep expecting myself to know how to do everything already and I sure don't. My patience with myself is really being tested.

At least it's DIFFERENT blues!

10-11-2003, 10:34 PM
Cathy, first let me congratulate you on making it to your 28 day commitment. (I read it in your online journal. :D ) Way to go! :clap: :clap: :clap: I have to wait for plein air painting season is over to start my new routine full force, but you certainly have set the standard on how to go about it.

I can most relate to your postpartum blues in the field of music. When I finish learning a fabulous piece, I feel lost until I can find an equally inspiring work to learn next. In that case, what I do is spend a lot of time sightreading through new music, reading music reviews, and listening to newly-released CDs, searching for that special thing.

To relate that to the art field....I'm usually working on several pieces at once. Sometimes I finish up a lot of them in a short time frame and don't have ideas for new paintings. (That only seems to happen in the winter, when I'm stuck inside my studio to paint, rather than go plein air.) I read a lot of art books, visit libraries and museums, do sketches for ideas, paint lots of pouchades or quick studies, and experiment with new techniques or palette colors. It's usually not long before I'm flooded with new ideas. I also keep a running list of things I want to paint, for when I get a chance to start something new. The list is a last resort when it comes time to actually pick a subject; you have to pick what motivates you at the time.