A few posts back I mentioned taking a weekend painting class. I talked about how frustrated I was and how I noticed that the years have put a damper on my confidence. I re-visited this topic with my therapist this week and made another connection.
What worked before does not always work in the future. This is the nature of creativity.
When I was in the class, my first two attempts were made with using tools and mediums I had used years ago, when painting was a bigger part of my life. I was frustrated as I kept getting stuck. I’d get about 15 minutes into it and hit a brick wall and my brain would go blank. It was painful and depressing.
But when the instructor introduced me to new tools and mediums, I was able to break out of that rut. I could still feel my need to control holding me back, and I kept having to let go of that control. Although I didn’t create something I was 100% pleased with, it gave me movement and direction. I liken it to crawling before walking.
If I’m going to get back into art and creativity, I’m going to have to apply my inner work of un-doing and un-learning old patterns and habits.
Since 2010 I have been actively and consciously unlearning. I’ve realized that old defense mechanisms and ways of seeing and doing things, no longer work for me. It’s scary not being able to use those old tools, especially when I don’t have other tools to replace them with. When I’m introduced to new tools, it a challenge to learn how to use them. But these are the tools that work – for now.
And so it goes with art and creativity.
What once worked and what once I could use to express myself with, no longer applies. They are tools and mediums of a person long gone. It is time to become familiar with new tools and mediums and learn to express this new person.