Art Frustration and Imaginary Fish Called Matilde

Am sitting here listening to a deafeningly loud rainstorm that is probably destroying my precious pepper plant even as I type this. What I’m actually doing – aside from typing – is trying to work out how I could make a woodcut of this dark, storm scene outside. Mostly streetlamp light and strings of rain. I find this sort of thing extremely frustrating as I’m not the sort of artist who can just whip something up that I’ve thought of: I can’t translate what’s going on in my brainpan onto paper easily. Typically any attempt on my part to accomplish something physically that I’m conjuring mentally ends up significantly lacking by far in the end. But I try, so maybe I get points.

I’ve discussed this issue at length with my brain and it basically argues that it’s not my brain’s fault that it’s mine, and then it crosses it’s arms against its chest in a huff or sticks its fingers in its ears and goes ‘la la la la la’ if I try to bring up any further points. And don’t ask my hands anything. They have become useless. I think they may have dementia.
These past two weeks have been really crappy for me so I have been trying to do what I can to try to put my frustrations and stress somewhere creative. That way I don’t light the house on fire. (Because it is O SO TEMPTING). At first I thought I’d work on more T-Shirt designs. Unfortunately there I’ve hit sort a wall as I am at a point where I need to do some digital cleanup, but wouldn’t you know it, my RAM has shit the bed and I can’t run anything with the word Adobe in the title. Or scan anything. And I am bone broke, so there’s no replacing it any time soon. Then I figure I’ll map out my physics quilt. Again, did the layout digitally, so I’m stuck there.

Then I think – I’ll just go out to the studio and pull out the papermaking stuff and finally mulch the recycling into the paper out of which I make scary dolls. Nerp. Because aside from having a black apocalyptic hole for half of my house that is denying me a table of any sort, the ‘renovations’ have also caused BB to fill my studio space (where I keep all my fabulous art loot) with stuff. So I can’t get to the bins, the tools or the sewing machines. I can’t put anything away either, so my Virtual OCD (VOCD) is making me nuts. All of my projects over the last 17 months are stacked up in my room and in the living room like some crazy hoarders stash. Which is not helping my stress level any. Or my health. It’s an endless cycle. The blockade around my studio is also preventing me from accessing my printmaking tools (my beloved sharp and pointies!) so I can’t whack out any of these doodles into linoleum or wood. So making prints of the rain would be out right there, even if I could sketch my vision properly.

One of the creepy dolls I make.

Err. So then there’s the Caps for Chemo project, which is all well and good and time consuming and stress relieving and it even serves to wantonly exercise my neuroplasticity. Unfortunately even there, in old timey knit-land, I’ve hit a wall. The hats were (are) for a charity Thunderball’s former employers ran. But since TB no longer works there, they won’t return my emails. In short they won’t accept the hats, the dozens of all natural, fabulonic, Technotronic, awesome hats for brats that I’ve spent the past year on, that many members of my family donated money and yarn towards, and that are currently sitting in bags along my bedroom wall. I could always knit more, but seeing them there is really pissing me off. I’ve tried to spread them around to the hospitals myself, but that’s harder than you think when you aren’t a real charity. I then tried to become a real charity, but couldn’t afford the over $550 in paperwork it takes to establish a charitable organization in Massachusetts.

I knit this shit for baldies! (And basically anyone who asks for one)

So now I’m stuck moaning on the internets and doodling nonsense into my sketchbook (which is just a sad waste of good paper). At this point the temptation to just set fire to the house and laugh maniacally as it melts around me a la Mrs. Danvers (and peanut butter sandwiches) is just too strong. I know it sounds like a very stupid and very third world problem, but for me, not being creative is like quitting your meds and ditching your therapist. It’s sometimes all I have. And while I sit here, consuming books for fuel and listening to that creepy squawking bird outside (it sounds like a rusty swing), having no outlet is a slow torture. Especially since what is on my plate right now in my personal life is becoming overwhelming.

That’s that then. My big bitch for the day. Now instead of leaving you with no conclusion and just a lot of me whining and moaning about being creatively frustrated around here, I’ll leave you with a weird and pointless tidbit from my subconscious mind.

Earlier this summer I had a dream in which I am sitting at a table with a roll of parchment, inks, brush and pen, and I’m doodling in gorgeous flowing scrollwork. I draw two of those fat Moor fish (the black, bug-eyed goldfish I had as a child) and then beside each one I write a name: first Mildred and then Matilde. Okay. Now, I never had fish named Mildred or Matilde, nor do I know anyone named Mildred or Matilde. I wasn’t reading anything with either of those names in it and I have no idea where they even came from. The only fish I have in my life right now is Harold the Viking, and he is a serial killer, not a bloated carp with buoyancy issues. I know that Mildred and Matilde have buoyancy issues because they started wiggling around on ink splattered parchment even as I drew them and I thought that they seemed to be spending way too much time just staying upright, and maybe I could invent some sort of device for them? Perhaps a balloon or fishing floats attached with elastic bands – but bands that overstretched and would therefore not damage the fish? This is what I’m thinking in my dream as I paint myself pet fish in a style that would make Dave McKean proud.


What does it all mean? Who knows. Maybe it’s time I got more fish? Perhaps not as even in another bowl, in another room Harold would execute them. (If he can take ray gun blasts directly to the face do you really think walls are a problem for him?). Plus there’s no room with my house in the current (and most likely permanent) state that it is in for more anything. Maybe I should just focus my time painting imaginary pet fish. Maybe I just need to get more sleep.


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