I love projects. I love the feeling of a completed objective or a goal reached. I was a force to be reckoned with when it came time to get our house ready to sell. In a matter of weeks I cleaned out the crawl space (which was a feat unto itself), ripped out 6 juniper bushes, painted, landscaped, among various small repair tasks. I also packed up our POD on my own and sold (or gifted) the remaining items in our house when it was time to actually vacate the premises. I was so efficient that I spent the last two nights in the Orcas house in a sleeping bag on the floor.
I thought I’d apply the same work ethic to my art on the road. I had grand plans for making artwork while we were on the move. Nothing necessarily museum worthy but some things, for sure, to be proud of. To facilitate this I bought numerous sketchbooks, pens, and brushes. To be honest I brought with me enough materials to make a small group of artists feel comfortable working for months – I’ve even got a cool retro case and new leather satchel to put it all in when on the move.
What happened was, well, nothing. Blank pages and unopened sketchbooks. I made a few sketches and doodles while camping in July, but other than that I didn’t even crack open my watercolors until September when we were comfortably set up in Boise. Since then a whole month has gone by and I’ve only produced one more sketch and about eight watercolor pages.
What is going on with me? I used to pine for spare time – any spare time – to work on my paintings when we had a home and I had a studio. I would stay up late after everyone else went to bed so I could have the quiet hours of the night to focus on the painting I was creating. Where exactly did that zeal go?
It went into reading, gaming, and television. That is not to say that we aren’t doing things – we are typically in our car, on a mountain, or on a trail with Emmett. When we are not Sarah is working her writing, cooking, or running. I am also helping some with the cooking and cleaning, but I don’t help with the writing (well cursorily sometimes, but not much) and I definitely don’t run. So when Sarah runs, or leaves to go work in a cafe, I stay home. I could be working on my art (and some would argue I should be), but what I find myself doing instead is playing Marvel’s Contest of Champions on my tablet or watching the latest season of Doctor WHO on Netflix. I have sought out art and museums in the various communities we’ve visited, but ultimately nothing has inspired me that much, or for very long.
I have lost my drive, nay, my desire to do art.
While thinking and writing this blog I believe I have discovered the problem. What helps me to be creative and what ultimately will make me happy, is that when I work creatively I need something to work toward. Vague goals like getting better at this or exploring that just don’t cut it for me. When I play Contest of Champions or watch Doctor Who there is an end, an achievement, or a goal to be met. I need to beat this boss and get to the next level or I need to watch the next episode to find out what happens next. What I need to be creative is a project. Without one I flounder and eventually stop even trying.
I am also not so good with conclusions. But this story doesn’t have a conclusion, I just haven’t figured out how to get the next level. Sarah sits in front of the page blankly for lots of time before she writes; maybe this is my blank page period.