I haven’t posted here in a while, and it’s because I was busy taking my own advice.  One of my strategies when things aren’t going well creatively is to simply take a break from the work, get some distance, and clear my mind.  A few weeks ago, I scheduled a photo session with my model to shoot new reference photos, knowing that booking a session with her would eventually force me to get my act together and figure out exactly what I’m doing. My photo session was yesterday at 10am, and sure enough, in the eleventh hour, things became clear.

I realized that the reason I didn’t like the idea for Hiding  was that 1) the visuals were no good, and 2) the project was lingering on the anguish of depression, an idea which I essentially had already explored with the series of 50 self-portraits. The idea behind Hiding  wasn’t progressing from what I had already done previously. In order for my art to move forward, the idea has to conceptually evolve and advance from the older work.  For this to happen, this new work has to be about my recovery from depression.

The best way I can describe the experience is that my recovery allowed me to see myself clearly for the first time in my life. When I was at the height of my depression, my sense of self felt completely buried in the disease.  It was only through the diagnosis and treatment that my true self began to emerge from this emotional mire.

Titled Emerging, this will be a series of about 15-20 drawings, depicting the progression from depression to full recovery. The first image will be nearly all black, with writhing figures suggested throughout the composition.  As the images progress, the anguished figures will gradually diminish, with a very strong, standing female figure slowly emerging.  The final image will be the standing female figure alone in the composition.  The female figure represents my sense of self, free at last from the depression.

I’m thrilled to have finally developed such a clear idea of what I want to do. I know this idea is the right one because I’m not spending my time trying to justify the idea to myself. The whole time I was exploring the Hiding  idea there was this itch at the back of my mind that something wasn’t quite right.  With this new idea, the constant questioning and doubt is gone, and I’m only looking forward to the possibilities.

4 thoughts on “Breakthrough

  1. Hello Clara . . . .I am convinced your work dedicated to overcoming depression will find resonance in many viewers and artists alike. The description of the “healing” as a figure standing proudly in space is beautiful . . . the fight to overcome is a personal one, one that must be won first inside and it is this victory that releases one to life again . . . at least for me. I wish you the very best on your artistic journey . . . I imagine as both a catharsis and self revealing. I look forward to seeing posts of the work noted. Thank you for sharing.

    Daniela Edstrom

  2. I’m glad to hear that you’ve worked through your block. Being an artist is just as much about exploring yourself as it is about exploring the world around you. It’s a good thing that you moved onto a new project to reflect your development as a person/artist. Keep creating.

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