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The Well of Creativity

I'm feeling kind of empty, creatively, at the moment, like drawing the bucket up from the wheel only to find that there’s no water in it. I know why: my latest show opened last Friday, after a few months of planning and a final few weeks of frantic organizing, leading to a rush of energy on the night. So now is the aftermath of the wave crashing on the shoreline -- another water metaphor. It’s that feeling of wondering what to do next, where to pick up the next time I return to my studio, which avenue should be walked, how to start answering the new questions.

Head, unfired clay & acrylic, 2008
It’s a commonplace idea, this image of the well of creativity, but it’s still useful. Creativity in this picture is like an underground stream: you can’t see it, you don’t know where it comes from. You only hope that you can still draw from it. In the past I might have been worried by this feeling of emptiness, but not any more. One of the things about getting older, doing this for a long time, is knowing that it usually comes back, that the water seeps back in to the underground stream eventually, and that some time the bucket will come up with some fresh water. Maybe it will take a few days, or longer.
But it might be the next time I sit down with some paper, brushes, paint, or plastic soldiers and video camera. You never know.

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