It's funny how things come together.
A few weeks ago I filled in an application course for the snappily entitled 'Diploma in the Theraputic and Educational Application of the Arts'. I had to think hard about myself as an artist: something which I probably haven't done for several years now. A day or so later I had a very vivid dream in which I found myself apologising to someone for the fact that I hadn't finished any prints recently. When I woke up my first thought was 'well, that's ridiculous, I haven't done any printmaking for five or six years', but the dream lingered and my vague feeling of missing something in an artistic sense got a little stronger.
The other day I found an old friend's blog. In the middle of pictures of his lively sculpture, found objects and paintings, Tadeusz writes about the protestant capitalist ethos where everything must have a profitable end. Reading this it occurred to me that I have slipped into this trap with my creativity: I make things for people to wear, or for people to eat, and occasionally I make cards for birthdays. I love making these things, but I rarely do anything nowadays which doesn't have a discernible use. I think that's OK really, but maybe it isn't enough.
On the interview day for the above course yesterday there was a moment when we were asked to respond to a piece of music. We had firstly to dance to it, and then when the music was played again used pens and paper to draw our response. Having overcome my initial horror at the thought of dancing in a room full of strangers plus someone with a clipboard with my name on it, I managed to forget myself and dance. Later I sat with my felt tip, absorbed in the music, drawing shapes on the page. I managed for a while to stop caring about what I was drawing, or whether it was a 'good' drawing which might lead on to some Actual Art that Might Sell, and just drew. When we 'shared' at the end of the session I poured out words (mainly about how good a time I'd had), something which I'd been singularly unable to do earlier in a painting session.
It seems to me that somewhere along the way I have lost the knack of pleasing just myself with what I do, and of just playing around for the sake of it. The trick now of course, is to do something about it.