State of the Art
In my experience, art of any kind takes emotional and mental commitment and connection. There's a bonding of thought and feeling that takes place inside that focus, that allows the practical action of creation and movement to be more than just a series of gestures - it becomes provocative, it suspends belief, it is accepted as more than just a superficial act and has meaning and connection for the audience.
As a dancer and performer most of my younger life, it was painfully obvious that if you didn't FEEL the performance, if it didn't have meaning for you, then it would be meaningless to the audience. On the other hand, if you were deep in the experience, and it was ultimately fulfilling to you, then the audience was rapt and as involved in the performance as you were.
I've never understood what other artists meant by having to be 'in the mood' to create. For me personally, mood was something for choosing music to listen to, to go for a walk, to be indoors or outdoors, to socialize or spend time alone. Art has always been an experience beyond mood for me; I can be in the worst mood ever and find something inspiring about the foulness and darkness of the experience that I can express with art. In any emotional state or mental process, there is something expressive to describe and relate through vision. Often as not, the biggest problem is that I have so many ideas and images in my head that I feel like I need a few clones so that I can get it all down on paper. I always FEEL ready to create.
The greatest stumbling block in the artistic process has been the interruptions. If you've ever studied, or been in championship training, where there's a process of mental and emotional organization required, you'll understand what I mean; there's a certain rhythm that is developed, that goes beyond momentum, and when that gets interrupted, it takes a while to re-establish that rhythm, sometimes days and weeks. You know you can focus, you know the method that works for you, you know what it is that you want to achieve.....but someone cut in while you were doing the Macarena, and now you have to remember which move you were up to.
The past month has been one of those months - changes in real world situations, and emergencies that had after-effects, things that slid past while I was dealing with other matters - and it's been a slow crawl back to my usual rhythm. And it's been a task to not get impatient and frustrated with myself because I'm not in that rhythm. Hours of sitting at the drawing board, only getting half the work done, and asking myself, "What is wrong with you?"
I always equate it with dancing - you know the moves, you know the beat, you know what it is you're meant to do, but if you've been sitting on your butt for six months, and you haven't been stretching and practicing, it's going to take a while to get back into the condition in order to pull off the performance. The commitment has to go somewhere deeper in order to get back to that state of the art.