Looking for communication: Retro-Blog 3

The Retro-Blog: Looking back at the development of a successful creative project in 2006 and the lessons learned along the way.

ScrawlIn my next journal entry on the Tree Series (23rd Jan 2006) I continue to explore the profound effect that showing my work precipitately has had on me:

Played a bit on the laptop with one of the tree photos but am not feeling very inspired… I feel so divorced from the me that was feverishly creating…I am afraid that I am running away, doing the proverbial u-turn again…I know it has a lot to do with that period of people seeing my work before I came away. It has thrown me into confusion. I have lost where I was with myself. Other people’s voices have replaced my own. I don’t know how to work because I am no longer in the centre of the frame; other people’s eyes have replaced mine…

I realise that I have touched on something very important here and I wonder how I might begin to deal with it although I don’t feel very well-equipped to do so at this particular time. I feel,

Some sort of distance has opened up between me and my subconscious…a yawning chasm.

and I ask myself,

How do I leap back over?

Exploring this theme of alienation further, I discover,

…the “creative me” lives at an entirely distinct depth than the “other me”. It is very hard to climb out of that deep place and back into the superficial world but once done, the return journey is even harder…the me that lives on the surface in no way resembles the me that lives down on “studio level”. She doesn’t know her…I don’t know myself. That deep-dwelling me is almost a stranger though I do recognise her from a long time ago. She surprises me and brings me good things…’

I begin to ask myself some tough questions:

Does “superficial me” try to destroy “creative me”? Do I run to avoid dealing with her? Is there a way to satisfy both levels? To somehow simultaneously provide the change of stimulation that superficial me needs and the sustained stability that “deep me” needs? To set up a communication link between them so that “superficial me” can run round and collect exciting experiences and “studio-level me” can draw them down for processing in the subconscious and then send a visual representation of those experiences back up to the surface for “superficial me” to present to the world? What would that look like?

I then do what Betty Edwards calls in Drawing on the Artist Within (ISBN-13: 9780671635145, Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group) an “Analog drawing” – or a visual representation of a problem which can later be analysed for possible solutions – which for me have become interchangeable with my ‘concept drawings’ (see previous entries: Suitcase Packed and Riding the Dragon’s Back).


I go on to analyse the drawing:

‘I see that it is very important for me to try to let out my subconscious feelings each day whether in form of sketch or (written) pages. … I think one of my biggest problems with my work is still that I have many ideas but I don’t know how to develop them. I have not had the experience in developing them. I keep exploring this and exploring that but I don’t know how to sustain my own interest in a given idea/project….

I wonder to myself if I have always been like this, unable to keep alive my engagement and interest in my creative endeavours…

I can vaguely remember the feeling of working on something and feeling engaged and committed to it, coasting along on the high that sustained involvement in something brings but I can’t seem to replicate the experience. I long for it but I don’t know how to achieve it. It seems I am afraid of it. Afraid of what it might ask of me. And yet I want that feeling beyond all others…Do I hoodwink myself into believing that in some other place, some other environment, amongst some other people, I will find again the me that is capable of that?

…and for the moment I am left with a lot of unanswered questions.



  1. Very thought provoking. Your writings make me feel less alone with my own thoughts and battles and disagreements with myself
    Lots of love from Susan in Australia

  2. That makes me very happy, Susan:-) I hope that by exploring these issues in depth in public, it helps others to realise that all creatives face these same dilemmas and we can all grow and learn together:-)

  3. You can see more comments about this post at:

  4. […] November 2, 2007 at 11:33 am · Filed under 1 By the next day I find I have ‘had a good talk with X’ and ‘Plucked up the courage to tell her that I didn’t want to show her my work and how I felt I had been deeply, aversely affected by having had to show to so many people lately.‘ (see: https://wildcherries.wordpress.com/2007/10/26/looking-for-communication-retro-blog-3/) […]

  5. […] decide to do a series of ‘concept’ drawings (see Looking for communication: Retro-Blog-3 for an explanation of these) perhaps then adding or overlaying colour. I […]

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