I've been dithering about what to write.
I worry that you must be sick of reading about this angst, but I'm still waging an internal war within myself about my art. I don't doubt any longer that I have talent--I've received too much positive reinforcement the last few months--but apparently, the old programming of "You must be a workhorse. You had to work, work, work and not pursue something so impractical" is very deep and powerful. Saturday, I was in tears again before leaving for class and Michael had to talk me through it.
I wish I could explain exactly why I have this terrible fear that it's wrong and selfish for me to study art. One of the things that is so distressing is that I never even suspected I had those controlling messages in my subconscious. A year ago, if anyone had asked me about why I stopped drawing, I would have said something like, "Oh, I don't know. It was one of those things you give up when you stop being a kid. I decided to pursue my writing, and you can't do everything in life, you know." But judging from the way I'm beating myself up about my art class, the reasons and the decision were not nearly so benign.
One of our friends at church (also an artist) thinks that part of the problem is the way our society as a whole devalues art.
When I am actually in class doing the work, I am happy and confident and focused. It's when I'm at home preparing to go to class that the demons set in.
I think that if I just stick to my guns, continue to fight to negative internal messages, and go to class every week, eventually I will resolve the internal conflict. If my past is any indication, if I put in the necessary effort of emotional processing and if I continue in prayer, I will form a new set of beliefs and mental constructs to guide my life. But I have to tell you that this is some of the hardest emotional work I've ever done in my life, defying an old and powerful set of constructs week after week. If we could afford it, I would go back to my old therapist so I wouldn't have to fight this alone, but our financial situation does not allow for that right now.
Another factor adds to the difficulty. The class is from 1:00 to 4:00, and it takes about 75 minutes to drive there and time to set up and put away my stuff each week. So the class takes a chunk (11:30 to 5:30) right out of the middle of every Saturday. I can't really schedule much of anything around it, so it's very awkward. I liked having a Saturday morning class better, but Richard teaches portrait in the morning and human figure in the afternoon . . . and I've discovered that I LOVE drawing the figure. So every Saturday, I find myself thinking, "I hate losing half of every weekend, but I love what I'm giving it up for." And I think that ambivalence triggers the old guilt messages.
I'm going to try taking Mondays off and see if that helps by giving me more of a "weekend" and more time to relax. That will be doable from now till the end of the year, but come January, I'm supposed to go back to full-time again, and I probably won't be able to manage keeping Monday free. But I guess I can't borrow trouble from the future, can I?
Anyway, I'm sorry to keep harping on this issue, but it's still a struggle and sometimes it has me so paralyzed that I just don't have energy to blog.
P.S. The top picture is one I did on my own. The bottom picture is a continuation of the figure I'm doing this month in class.