Friday, August 11, 2017

Begin Again

After not being in the studio for over a month, it's hard to jump back in.  I wasn't in the middle of a series or any particular project, and to say to myself, "go paint" without any sort of direction makes me freeze even more.  I keep notebooks of ideas, pages and pages of them, and have Pinterest boards overflowing with inspiration.  I thought I would start by browsing those to see what ideas jumped out.  After going through my notebooks, I was so overwhelmed by ideas, that I decided to skip Pinterest altogether, and pick a few ideas that called me the loudest.

My reluctance to get to the studio usually stems from a lack of focus.  Either I have too many ideas and don't know what to work on, or I'm in the middle of a project but don't know what to do next.  It's so much easier for me to start painting if I know I'm heading to the studio to work with bold lines today, or use the color pink, rather than just show up and face the unknown.

Simple tasks also help me to get to the studio.  If my energy and confidence are low, I can at least sharpen pencils,  then usually once I'm in the studio one thing leads to another and I'm working.  I have a sort of 3 step hierarchy of projects, from easiest to hardest.  Here's what my list looks like right now:

Sharpen pencils
Sharpen crayons with knife
Gesso paper
Pull fabrics for projects
Pull papers for collage
Do black and white mark making papers for collage
Improv stitching of scraps

Work on black and white collage with stitching
Make black and white prayer flags
Do small painting exercises
Piece together improv bits into a whole

Paint large
Fit a shirt pattern

I do like a plan! Even though I seldom stick to it all the way. 

Right now I'm focusing on black and white.  I started a small 12" square series based on Vessels.  Here's the starting point as I roughly scribbled lots of different vessel shapes onto gessoed paper.  Whether any of these end up with a final vessel shape is yet to be seen, but there's the starting point.

And I started with lots of mark making on 3--22x30" sheets of heavy watercolor paper.  This stage is always so much fun.  I'm hoping to keep recording them daily to see how they develop.

 Shoot!  I just realized this is the same painting upside down after I added a tiny bit more!  Oh brother, well I'll post the third one next time.


Suzanne Reynolds said...

I can relate to what you're saying about getting into a creative practice. I'm taking a workshop where the approach is working within limitations. The artist teaching the class uses mostly 4 or 5 stitches in her work but has explored ways to push those stitches to create a wide variety of patterns and textures. The class is centered around creating small samples and, for me, doing those on a regular basis has led to some interesting projects and helps keep me "unstuck". I've started to think more of my creative time as trying things out and that takes some of the pressure off of making Something.

Dreamcicle Journeys said...

I like this discussion of trying things out, experimenting, setting limitations. Setting a plan is a good guide to this exploration. Now, I need to do it. Thanks for posting and I'm glad your posts are bask.

Robin Olsen said...

Sounds like a great class Suzanne! Without limitations, I'm overwhelmed and get nowhere. And I do love how they help you dig deeper with focus instead of dabbling here and there.

Robin Olsen said...

Thanks Paula, It seems like I'm always having to experiment with what works to establish a good studio practice. I'll have a plan that works for a while then seem to get off track and have to start over or come up with a new approach. Sometimes I want to focus on one project; other times I seem to get more done when I have several things going on. Always a grand experiment!