I am just two weeks away from the hand-in date that is imprinted on my brain, and a little longer than that away from when I have to exhibit something. As a consequence, the dreaded doubts have started to show their ugly faces. Evil little critters, they are. I know this is normal, yet it still frightens me. It’s the curse of the creative.
It isn’t just me that has been feeling it; today, while in the studio, I sensed it from others. We have just two weeks left and we ‘should’ be nearly there. Yet, we all seem to be walking around looking somewhat lost as if in a fog of uncertainty, desperately seeking assurance on each other’s faces that the same emotion is being felt. It is, there is no mistaking it. I see it.
I have just varnished my finished pieces and for about the fourth time since I started making them I have concluded that they look ‘rubbish’. The varnish has left an uneven finish on them which to me is obvious and messy. They need another coat. Yet I can’t really get away with varnishing them in the studio as the smell is too potent, so I will have to carry them one by one outside and that is tedious. I will have to try to spray them instead of painting the varnish on and I am worried that this won’t work or that I will run out of varnish. One can doesn’t go that far. So I am sat here worrying.
As I write this, I am sat at home and it is 9pm at night, I can’t do anything about my fears now. I wish I could. I want to be there, back in the studio. I want to make everything perfect, I can’t. The thoughts running through my head are: what if it doesn’t work? What if they fall apart as I attempt to carry them outside? What if they still look awful after I have varnished them again? What if it is all a big waste of time and money? What if I fail? What if? What if?
Also today, I re-read my thesis, I must be in double, even triple figures now on read throughs. And the doubt monster has bitten me here too. I recently sent it to a non-artist to proofread for me and his comments which I received today, of which there are many, have sent me into a bit of a spin of terror. What if it doesn’t make sense? What if I fail? What if I have wasted two years of my life? What if it is, as I fear, utter rubbish?
Now both those fears are ridiculous, I now tell myself. Whatever the outcome of the thesis and the exhibition, I have not wasted two years. Even if I fail, it has not been a waste of time. It has been an incredible two years. And anyway, some of the best artists failed at art school. And some of the most well known evil dictators didn’t even get in in the first place. Perhaps the latter is not the best role model though. Boris, watch your back.