...and where to go from here...
To get out of my little bubble I decided to take a trip to Philadelphia- probably the closest far place I can get to that has at decent pulse for art (and plus I know some people out there, which is helpful). I made the following discoveries, observations, and connections:
1- Newton was right; What comes up must come down- Taking a new body of work that I'm feeling proud of, lumping it together, and placing it under a microscope for dissection is really unpleasant. Sure, it's necessary (no learning and no growing=imminent death), but I for the first time actually made the connection that this is probably normal for both logical and emotional reasons, and that I'm not just bipolar. I guess that's technically a good thing.
2- Two steps forward, one step back is a group of dance steps I may need to get used to- I may not like it, but just because "I want it, and I want it yesterday" doesn't mean I'll get it. I'm an impatient bastard, but in the grand scheme of things it's not an issue I have the luxury of allowing precedence. The fact is that I've got some time to let everything congeal and am not really in any rush realistically. In this specific case, its a balance issue. In my last body of work, all of my concern was placed on how I was painting, and not enough though was put into what I was painting. I now feel that I found the right direction on the highway and just missed my exit. While it doesn't feel good necessarily, at least I know exactly where I'm going.
3- Isn't it funny how history repeats itself? Once again, for different reasons that I also don't completely understand, the word "illustration" was thrown around again. This time though the word "cartoony" came up a little too. Everyone who has ever mentioned my "cartooniness" as a negative point seems to be a big advocate of the validity in (my idol) Philip Guston's work. The part I find interesting is that when he came around to his figurative work post abstraction, that was universally the biggest complaint (and ultimately led to much of his rejection). I'm not putting myself on his level, but I have to admit that this puts me in a strange position. All the push and pull involved internally is serving for quite a bit of confusion... but like my girlfriend says "looks like you found something to search for".
No matter what I feel now, I realize that the only thing I can hope for is the will and the fuel to get back up, and start again. After all, a quitter makes for a terrible artist.