Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Art of Pain


I am up to over 80 hours of sewing and I still have a long way to go. I am loving it but I can only manage a couple of hours a day. The sheer difficulty of sewing this long hanging is tiring, my arms ache. I have managed to do a fair amount sitting down but I just can't get a feel of the whole thing when it is screwed up on my lap. I need to stand back from the design and see how I am using colour, just as I would when I am painting.

I doubt most people even consider, when they look at large scale art works (and mine aren't that big !) how difficult they are to produce. The physical energy that is used to actualy reach the top/middle/bottom of a large painting is massive, up and down the ladder or scaffolding to asses progress or having to reach a canvas at an awkward angle is slow and tiring. Michelangelo lay on his back to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, it must have been exausting. Starting a canvas the size Mark Rothko uses would be daunting. Even Andy Goldworthy's large scale structures take a massive amount of effort or Richard Long's walks are no mean feat.
The joy comes in the achievement of overcoming the difficulty and the finished product.  Can we measure happiness by the amount of work and struggle we put into getting to where we want to be ?
I am a stress avoider by nature and will always take the path of least resistance but there is something satisfyingly compelling about overcoming difficulty in one's art. 

So next time you look at an art work, what ever the size, and mutter under your breath 'How much ?' just give a little thought to the pain, effort and time that went into creating it !

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