Overcoming fear

Depression is a weird thing. It can take the things we know we’re good at, put them on a pedestal and strike a newcomer’s fear into your heart. I felt this about my art and my studio recently, and it’s something I have to overcome from time to time. I’m learning to keep going in those disorienting times, and recently I found myself doing one very focussed drawing to get me through the dark days. It’s a piece about coping, about the tiny things building to something greater. It is inspired by beach pebbles, but also came out as a kind of automatic writing.
(Click photo to see larger image.)
cOping - pen and ink on paper Jen Dixon
I had no strength to paint. No ideas. No will, no strength. Only fear. Depression has a way of taking that last shred of your being and making it feel irrelevant and pointless. It took my creating away from me for weeks till my painting studio felt like a bear trap with its giant teeth ready to clamp down and kill me if I entered. Yesterday was the first day of work in there in weeks. I had two stiff drinks, and headed in.

What I produced isn’t – in my own opinion – great, but it is production. Honest production. I, of course, tapped into the feelings from the past week of horrible treatment (and lack thereof) from my local surgery – specifically the doctor on call whilst mine is away on holiday. I pushed the anxiety, the hurt, the bad emotions and poison thoughts onto a couple of partly done canvases from my “shit” pile. I wasn’t brave enough to start with clean canvases, so I used the ready built paint layers and added, subtracted, manipulated them into finished works. They may or may not make it into my portfolio (there are plenty of things that shouldn’t be in there but are), but they needed to be done.
(Click photo to see larger image.)
18April2014 - two paintings by Jen Dixon
So that leads me to this morning. I’m less anxious, less afraid. I have spent the last hour repairing and priming my a-frame sidewalk sign for a new message- it’s to advertise when I’m holding an open studio. I live on one of the two roads to the beach, so I get a lot of traffic. I have insurance for people visiting my workspace, so I’m going to invite them in. Perhaps they’ll go away with some of my work, perhaps not. The important thing is that this all builds up a broken girl and gets her doing what she’s meant to do again.

3 thoughts on “Overcoming fear”

  1. I actually like these. I am interested to know what you think of them when you get a few days away from this last challenge, and look at these with fresh eyes. xx -S

  2. Thank you. They’re not bad – they are honest and quite raw. I don’t know what I think about them, honestly. I just needed to make them. Guess that’s enough. 🙂

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