Saturday, March 29, 2008


I am driven to create. This is an interesting topic. Notice I did not say driven to paint. I am a painter. You would think I would long and lust for every moment of studio time to become immersed in color and paint media. I am not. I have just realized even though I am a painter, I should widen my perceptions and consider myself a CREATIVE. I know this to be true because I am creative every day. I have to be. This neurotic urge is in my genes. There is not a day that goes by in which I am not making, building, or creating in some way, fashion, or form. It is a compulsion.
This topic came to mind because I haven’t been painting in the past few weeks. I started feeling very edgy and agitated about this. I would walk into my studio and scowl. Then I started to account for my time and realized I have been very creative in the past month! It just didn’t take the form of pushing paint around. I have been writing blog posts and making videos. I have worked on my website and researched new art ideas. In fact, I have felt drained from producing.
Our reservoir of creative energy does have a limit. For me at least, I couldn’t paint all day every day 24/7. Sometimes I get zonked just from spending hours at my day job talking and thinking ART, ART, ART all day long. On days like that, I prefer to write or create on the computer when I get home from work. Also, I have a need for creative variety. I get just as much satisfaction from writing an article or fiddling on Photoshop as I do painting a painting. I realized the media isn’t an issue. It is the creative act that gives me delight. I guess this is similar to the idea of process vs. product. I have always been a process person.
Being driven to create is a blessing and a curse. It is so wonderful to have the ability to make stuff. Taking an idea and making a concrete representation of that idea seems miraculous. However, the compulsion to go, go, go all the time can be annoying. There are days when it is difficult to relax because my creative drive is revving like a motor out of control. It can be exhausting.



RJ said...

Hi Sheree--

I have been reading your blog more or less regularly, and continue to enjoy it. I have often wanted to leave a comment, but I always feel pressed for time.

I like what you have to say in this post! I also frequently find it hard to get geared up to paint after a day/week of teaching my art classes. My form of relaxation is also oftentimes looking at or producing things on the computer. I like your comments on blog posting as a creative act-- it makes me feel less guilty about not painting or creating music, both of which take more physical energy than I can muster much of the time-- teaching wears me out! I know you can relate to that.

I like what you have to say about "process vs. product". I also think that this is very important; it is something that I try to emphasize with my students. You know how some students tend to be overly critical of their work-- I try to get them to understand that not every piece is going to be a masterpiece, and that this is just as true for professional artists as well. Process over product. My goal is to help my students learn, not to compete against other schools/teachers in the Scholastic art exhibit (although, when we have participated, we have usually done very well).

Regarding an earlier post you made about the frustration of trying to sell your personal artwork. This is not something that I have done, at least not in a "fine art" sense, but having done commercial illustration for many years certainly gave me a lot of ups and downs. I had times where I would make three or four thousand dollars over a weekend, and I would think, "I'm freakin' awesome-- I RULE!" Other times, I would go for a month or more with no work, at which point I would think, "maybe I'm not as good as I think I am... maybe they think my work sucks..."

It's not always easy being a creative person. No wonder many of us often have somewhat of a manic/depressive personality! (not necessarily as a clinical diagnosis, just a lot of mood swings)

BTW, I have been exploring some of the links on your page-- lots of very interesting stuff!

Creatively yours,


Kim Hambric said...

WAY too often, I am a product person. I feel I must create a product instead of exploring and exerimenting. Thanks for your great post. I need to step back from producing and create. Create anything. Even create mistakes.

Sheree Rensel said...

Kim, These days it seems product is all the rage. I understand why. After all, you have to have a product to sell. I wish I was a little more like you. It is difficult for me to think of my work as my product. I guess we both have to work toward meeting in the middle. Just like everything in life, BALANCE is the key!

Sheree Rensel said...

Yes, teaching takes a lot of energy, but I have to admit, I am not a teacher's teacher. I can tell from your posts, you are. I teach to have a job and a paycheck. (OMG!! Did she say that??? LOL LOL) I enjoy it. However, I rarely take my work home. After school is out, I don't want to think about it. I don't want to talk about it. As I watch the clock at school, I can't wait to get off work. I reserve energy for my art life. I have to do that. I wouldn't survive any other way. If I didn't have that attitude, I would have never lasted teaching this long. I must be doing something right. I am a really great teacher, but I keep my art life separate. It seems to work for me.
Thanks for your comment!! :-)