How To Push Past Resistance?

push-past-resistance

How to push past resistance? And what is resistance anyway??

First let me start off by stating that I LOVE the art I’ve been doing recently. It seems like a barrier (probably self-imposed) has been lifted. I used to feel like every piece I did had to be different and original otherwise I was somehow failing (ridic, right?). Now I feel I’m able to follow my favourite steps and techniques and work with limited supplies to create a cohesive body of work over the course of a few weeks/months and hone my skills (and HAVE FUN! So important).

BUT, and this is the big BUT… although I feel I’m developing, I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself to fulfilling my potential. I have this (not so secret) wish to make more technically accomplished and complex art. Not just that, but art with feeling, expression and emotion, art that comes from deep inside.

There are a few artists I really admire (e.g. Renata Loree, Ivy Newport, Robin Laws) whose art possesses a wealth of soul and complexity. Now I know it’s no use to compare my own work to other people’s work, that’s a given. But I am struggling with not knowing whether it’s a style I WANT to pursue myself or simply like looking at because it pleases me aesthetically. You can enjoy good food without actually being a master chef yourself if you get what I’m saying.

So the first question is really: IS this resistance or not? Am I painting simple quick art journal pages because that’s my deepest desire and what I need to be doing right now, or because I am afraid of going deeper, more detailed and spending more time…?

This has been a theme in my life for as long as I can remember. I find it hard to invest time. I rush through things, wish they were finished before even starting and I find it very hard to stay with them. Hence art journaling and small simple paintings fitting in really well with this tendency. But then how do I ever get to the point where I can invest? Invest time and attention to myself, my art, without wishing to rush through it? And if I engage in this exercise (for example working on a painting that takes days or weeks to complete, not hours) how do I get past that feeling of unease, that feeling of not enjoying myself or not knowing what to do or where things will go? (Aha it becomes apparent to me yet again that I like being in control… hilarious right for someone who teaches people to let go of the outcome..? *gigglesnort*)

I want more out of my art, but I want more with grace & ease, not discomfort or unease. Am I asking too much?

I’m not sure if I can know the answers to these questions right now, but I know I feel a certain excitement. The excitement of my own potential. The gift I can give myself of time, of knowing that I’m allowed to wonder, allowed to find out, allowed to try. All my life I’ve lived with a feeling of ‘I must’, so I’m experimenting with the notion of ‘I am allowed’ and go from there.

This is a piece I did a few months ago in which I feel I captured a little bit of what I’m talking about (even though this was still definitely a quick piece)

Portrait in art journal by Iris Fritschi-Cussens

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Comments

  1. Interesting questions. Time ago I thought I have to do complex mixed media work with a lot of layers and so on, like other people I admire. But I found out, that I don’t like to do so. I don’t like to work with collage elements and a lot of glue and layers by myself. I like it more plain and simple. And I enjoy my fast output as well. Otherwise I get bored. 😉
    Following my own likes prevents me also from reproducing other artists style. I found that my style is changing by itself over the time naturally.
    XO Bettina

    • Yesss that is SOO part of it isn’t it, that feeling of that you must make ‘certain art’! I feel really similar in terms of collaging and working with glue, it just doesn’t really speak to me. And same with layers, sometimes it feels good, but I often feel like I’m working within some sort of ‘what it’s supposed to be like’ framework, rather than doing my own thing. Good for you for keeping it simple and finding the way you like to work Bettina! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. xx

  2. Rossana says:

    Great questions and considerations Iris!! If only i could not spend 3 hours thinking what to say in English i could tell you more but I say thank you because every time i read your thoughts with pleasure! Ciao!!

  3. Mary Beth Dollar says:

    “I want more out of my art, but I want more with grace & ease, not discomfort or unease. Am I asking too much?”
    I can identify with what you’re saying Iris! I always attributed my rushing through my art, music or whatever I enjoy, to having to work and take care of my family. Even though my children are now grown and on thier own, I still limit myself “timewise” to my art in many ways. Can’t go in the studio until the laundry is done and put away, can only be in the studio for an hour before I have to start dinner, etc. If I thought I would have to work on a piece for months to achieve what I wanted, I would go into panic mode! Like you, I like to be in control, but instead, it seems like the opposite has happened with my “me” time, I am obviously not in control at all.

    • That’s a great insight into your behavious Mary Beth! I have a tendency to do this too. Either using art as a reward or limiting how much I’m ‘allowed’ to do it, or even limiting HOW I’m allowed to do it. It’s so hard! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. xx

  4. Christy Harris says:

    Hi Miss Iris, I think that the discomfort and unease must come before the grace and ease that follows. I fight and struggle for every single brush stroke. I fight unease, I fight the feeling of lacking grace. And do you know what? That’s okay. It’s where I am at right now. That discomfort and unease is my whole soul wanting something so desperately, wanting to make art that we *think* is beyond us is disquieting at best and painful at worst and if we just had grace handed to us without the struggle, it would not be as sweet. It’s okay to struggle, it’s okay to flounder, it’s okay to fail because at least we showed up. You’ve got this.

    • Wonderful words Christy, I really appreciate you saying this, about the things most worth having usually being a struggle or at least EFFORT. I think I’ve lived my life painstakingly avoiding effort (because effort means caring means attachment means potential for disappointment). I’m going to keep the word effort in my mind when next I experience resistance or discomfort. Thank you so much for commenting Christy!

      • Christy Harris says:

        My pleasure, Miss Iris! I think though that you are not giving yourself enough credit. You do effort every time you make a blog post or teach a lesson, it’s effort in your journal too but perhaps the journal is a comfortable effort( for you). I would rather be faced with the task of painting a chapel ceiling rather than face even one blank journal page! Seriously!

        • We all have different challenges for sure. Thank you for appreciating me Christy! I hope you will paint a chapel ceiling at some point, it would be gorgeous! =)

  5. Great post! This is stuff I’m struggling with right now! ? So you have great timing or the fates have great timing in getting me to log into WordPress after more than a years absence ?

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