So my current schedule consists of four classes, two being studios.
Monday, I have Foundation Life Drawing from 1-3:45PM, then Comparative Studies from 5-6:15PM. Tuesdays I have Abnormal Psychology from 8-9:15AM, then Intro to Painting from 1-3:45PM. Filling a schedule around studio classes is astoundingly difficult, especially with the recent budget cuts limiting class sections and occupancies.
The studio classes are kicking my ass, primarily because the instructor, Siobhan McClure, equips a heavy workload. She teaches both of my studios, so she gives me a bit of sympathy. Due Monday, for Life Drawing, I have a charcoal self-portrait that needs to display something about my personality. Kandi it is. I can probably bang it out in four hours or so, which is a fairly short amount of time. Due Tuesday, for Painting, I have a 24x30 still life themed "Personal Clues". More kandi and a couple of skulls. I'm about a third of the way through it, blocking in colors and adding value here and there. I guess I decided to make it as hard as possible for myself by throwing in a skull bank covered in Celtic knotting and stringing neon purple holiday lights for numerous, colored light sources. Smooth move, Dexter. Alas, the painting is well on its way and it's too late for changes. I'm hoping she'll appreciate me attempting to challenge myself and going the extra mile to accurately portray myself in the still life. Because, y'know, I'm all about purple lights an' shit.
So today and yesterday she pulled us aside, one by one to discuss our standing in the class academically and artistically. I'm on the unnecessarily-irritating cusp of B+/A- in both classes, to which she requests an extra push. An extra push! I'm shoving as hard as I can! Angry and starving—that's the life of an artist! Truth to be told, I'm sleeping less than five hours at a time and eating even less. My diet consists mostly of on-the-go carbs and sugars: cereal, cereal bars, granola bars, Pop-Tarts, PB&Js, bagels with cream cheese (occasionally). If I'm lucky, there's some kind of chicken in the dining hall, though I'm usually dependent on potatoes as usual. When I have time, I pick up frozen things at the market, as well as milk, juice, and apples. Basically, whatever I can carry a mile home. But I digress.
I'm having a blast in these classes and I can definitely see my improvements, but I feel as if there is never enough time to devote to my artwork and to my friends. I recently went the longest I've ever gone without seeing my family: over a month. It would be different if I were on a trip or studying abroad, but when you're tantalized by all of these events happening within just miles of you and your family being so close, yet just a tad too far, it's really grating to know you're stuck at school. Because I live on campus, I never come home from school. Sure I throw down my backpack and lurch myself onto my bed the same as ever, but the environment is still around me. There is no signal to the end of a day, not even the sun setting or rising. It's school, constantly. School. I'm not complaining; going to university is a great opportunity and I'm (finally) learning a lot, but there's no downtime to turn off my brain and let the day's thoughts and activities marinate. The bed I jump on to is the same one I crawl toward at 9:30 in the morning for a quick nap before I wake up three hours later and go to my next class. It's like Monday morning twice a day for four days. My only escape is on the weekends when Pulse/Descent is going on. I see a more comfortable set of friends who aren't going to ask me about my homework, or where I'm going, or if I did such and such yet, or if I can hang out. I can't hang out with people as liberally as I was able to last year, and people on and off campus take this as a personal insult.
I've been reading Marry Your Muse as suggested by oolong, which suggests that I shouldn't be afraid to devote time to my craft instead of other people.
"As I began to work on projects that called for focus and creative attention, I experienced the same need—to be totally alone when I entered the space I had defined sacred. [[More on this later.]] I was always living in households with other people, and it seemed to take forever for them to understand this need. Despite the fact that my door was shut, meditation music was playing, or incense was burning, housemates would still knock on my door to call me to the phone. Limits were tested by children, parents, and friends, all wondering how I could really put my personal life ahead of them and their pressing needs.
I went back and forth between feeling angry at their lack of understanding and feeling selfish for wanting a solitude I didn't deserve... When I hear others say how hard it is for them to find any solitude in their lives, I flash back to my years of struggle with it, to the constant conversations I had with myself about whether I was worth it, whether my work was important enough to deserve being placed above the needs of others, and to the embarrassment I often felt when others failed to understand my need for prayer and aloneness."
I guess the main problem is that I don't want to be shut away from people. I like talking to people, being hugged, and going out dancing. Maybe it's just that I've been locked in my room for enough weeks at a time that I feel deprived of people and I'll be able to return to my normally introverted solitude once I burn out. No, you know what though? I want to exercise. I want to go hiking. I want to travel and meet people. I want to listen to music as loud as it will go and stomp around until I've sweat my last drops. I want to eat fruit picked off of trees and scribble on the sidewalk with chalk. I want to sleep on ten different couches a month and see the insides of hundreds of showers. Someone very important to me once said that being a raver was like running away and joining the circus. It's a shame that aspect of the scene is degrading, if not grasping its last crippled breaths.
The absolute worst part is that Madrid has been steadily absent. He's told me before to lift my hand to create, and his fingers will wrap around mine. I've been drawing and painting practically nonstop, yet during these periods his visits have been brief, if they happen at all. His mood is usually negative, accusatory, mocking, or just plain pissed off. He's always been the Bad Cop in terms of artistic coaching and support, which I accept as part of his personality and is beyond my control, but these last few weeks he's been increasingly bitter. Through his own emotional issues, he's been unable to directly compliment or praise me. Often he will tease me until I've descended to his level of vulnerability before he "admits" something positive about me, especially when he "confesses" his love. This doesn't bother me as much as him being entirely gone. I paint as if in a void, just getting assignments done instead of enjoying the experience. Just because they're assignments doesn't mean they aren't personal works of art. Well, they were until recently, where I'm feeling empty, unmotivated, harried, hungry, tired, and alone. Now I'm sitting here and typing this shit up, staring between the screen and my painting with contempt. I know he's moody and mad at me, or at someone, but I don't know how to fix it or what went wrong. It's left me quite adrift, so I'm further making time to finish Marry Your Muse so I can prove my commitment to him.
Oh, right. The sacred space. Haven't got it. This dorm room is too small to physically paint my still life in. I had to assemble it underneath my desk and I'm sitting on the floor with the canvas, propping it up against my desk. I had the still life set up on my desk before, but the canvas is too tall and interferes with the shelf on top. I would remove the shelf, but it's crammed full of my books. So there I sit in my narrow, tiny space, claustrophobic and cramped, tangling myself in cords and sifting through tubes of paint and somehow getting my entire palette on the length of my arm. The only mirror I have is within my closet, meaning I have to stand and prop my drawing board and paper up against the set of drawers inside. There is no quiet, secluded space that allows me to "step aside from the chaos of daily life and open channels to a higher frequency, tuning in to the language of the spirit, the voice of the Muse." According to this book it's like, Step fucking 2 or something and I don't even have that.
When I get frustrated I pick at my skin until it bleeds. Good thing I don't do meth.
My hands are dry and clammy now from washing paint off of them so often. Is it worth it?
The Artist's Creed
I believe I am worth the time it takes to create
whatever I feel called to create.
I believe that my work is worthy of its own space,
which is worthy of the name Sacred.
I believe that, when I enter this space, I have the right
to work in silence, uninterrupted, for as long as I choose.
...I believe that the time I spend creating my art
is as precious as the time I spend giving to others.
...I believe that I am not alone in my attempts to create,
and that once I begin the work, settle into the strangeness,
the words will take shape, the form find life, and the spirit take flight.
I believe that as the Muse gives to me,
so does [he] deserve from me:
faith, mindfulness, and enduring commitment."
I need this book a lot more than I thought.
Also, Halloween is my favorite fucking holiday and I'm going to be spending it locked inside my room. A massive middle finger to you too, midterms.