Second semester rolled around and everything changed. I was suddenly thrown on a downward spiral moving at the speed of light. I am going to be blunt and honest here. Junior year, I got into my first relationship, but quickly this relationship turned sour. It was mentally and sexually abusive. My very first relationship was one with someone who would belittle me and make me feel like I am less than a human being. It was with someone who stripped me of all my self confidence. It was one with someone who raped me repetitively. This horror resurfaced this year in the form of PTSD. My anxiety grew incredibly strong. I found myself unable to stay calm in class, unable to attend class, unable to leave my house, and eventually unable to leave my bed. I was struck with flashbacks that I learned to live in fear of appearing. Depression usually falls hand and hand with PTSD and man did I get whacked real hard with the depression stick.
I sat back and watched myself loose the things I cared most about. I sat back as I watched myself grow more and more isolated from all my friends. I sat back as my relationship with my parents fell apart. I sat back and watched my love for art shatter. This class suddenly became a constant reminder that the one thing I thought I knew I loved was now clouded. I tried to motivate myself to make something, anything, but I barely had motivation to get out of bed. How could I find the motivation to make art?
So, I stopped. I let myself fall so far behind that I had a zero this entire semester. This past week, I finally made the rest of my pieces. Yesterday, I made three pieces in one day. I was pushed to create. The beginning was rough. I wasn’t happy with anything I made and I grew frustrated trying to make it up to par with what I’ve made in the past. However, fact of the matter was that no matter how good you are if you’re making something in four hours it probably isn’t going to be your best work. Realizing this I made the best artistic decision I’ve made all year: just have fun. I stopped worrying about trying to make something conceptual and relatable. I stopped worrying so much about making everything perfect and realistic. I stopped trying to make art that was on the same level as what I previously made.
I let loose and started on a graphite portrait. In my early art days, I LOVED making graphite portraits, but as I grew as an artist I drifted from it. Going back to the roots of what I used to love to do reminded me that sometimes I don’t have to create some crazy conceptual art. Sometimes I can just make something simple for the joy of making it.
Then, I decided to make the “shielded” portrait (#10) and this was key in allowing myself to just relax. I’ve felt a lot of pressure throughout this class to make realistic portraits because it’s what I am known for. Letting go of this expectation allowed me to have fun again with my art. I wasn’t so worried about making everything proportional and perfect, and I grew to be more concerned with enjoying the process of making the art.
The last piece I made on this binge was the three canvas three expressions piece, and this was my cherry on top. I completely let loose with this piece. I allowed myself to play with a less realistic style and had fun with colors. I wasn’t super concerned about making everything perfect. I let myself relax and enjoy making it. Originally, the piece didn’t even have a concept. It was just going to be a normal portrait but split up. However, allowing myself to relax and have fun opened up the dusty box that held my creative juices. I came up with the concept after I had already started to sketch the design onto the canvas.
The pieces I made this semester were certainly not my best. Looking from a technical viewpoint it would appear that I’ve regressed. However, one must take into account that every piece was made in four or less hours. This being said, I think these pieces taught me very important lessons. I learned that I am quite good in a time crunch and can produce pretty decent pieces in short time frames. I learned that naked people are NOT fun to paint. I learned that acrylics aren’t actually the devil’s paint. Most importantly, I learned that I need to let myself have fun. I fell in love with art because I had fun making it. When I fell out of love with art It wasn’t until I started having fun again did I fall back in love.