Monday, November 15, 2010

Getting There vs. Being There

I've been busy, incredibly busy. Card sales are going through the roof lately - hooray for me! Since the beginning of November I've made and sent at least 300 cards and I have five orders in front of me for this week (so far). I also have a craft fair in December for which I need to prepare. Life is good! Really good.

For as busy and artsy as I've been, I miss making art. I miss making "real" art (as some clod once called it). I miss hauling out paint and canvas and getting completely messy with it - literally and figuratively. I miss diving into the deeper recesses of my mind and turning the wild carnival there into something tangible. I think it's the getting messy part I miss the most... the satisfaction that comes from finding paint all over my hands, arms and clothes, and sometimes streaked across my face from distractedly brushing away a wayward hair with painty fingers. I'm longing to paint.

I had an aHa! moment last week as I responded to my friend Jessica's blog post (here). She was lamenting the fact that while her Muses have been talkative lately, they haven't been putting out. My reply was as follows:

I've had those days, weeks, months. It seems to me that it's not so much a "nothing's happening" gig as a "too much is happening" gig. I get to a point where I'm so overwhelmed with thoughts, emotions, ideas, etc. that I can't move. And... yeah... nothing feels right when I put my hand to it. Ugh.

My best advice? At least it's what works for me. Get the yayas out. When I find myself in that mood, I go big and bold and don't care about results. I grab a big canvas and splotch paint all over it until I'm exhausted. Or a big piece of paper and scribble with crayons or pastels or whatever. I don't go for a design... the release is simply in the motion and getting color on the paper. A few times those things have turned into something... which is cool. Even better, doing that somehow releases whatever that stuckification is.

I think... it's like running tear-ass down a hill when walking feels tedious and lumbering. You get to the bottom and suddenly your feet don't feel quite so heavy and you've found a little pep. Yeah. it's like that.

I have, for as creative as I've been lately, been missing that "tear-ass down the hill" feeling.

My second aHa! moment came last night as I watched a PBS special on Dale Chihuly. I'm convinced that one of the things that makes him such a great artist is that he is a great man. Anyway. I don't remember his exact words, but as he was talking about artistic process he said something to the effect of... artists don't have a clear sense of direction when they start a project. They may have an idea of where they want to go, but it's rarely where they end up.

I think that's what I've been missing, that journey to the unknown. Don't get me wrong, I love making my cards - even a bad day of creativity beats the shit out of a good day of crunching numbers. However, when I make cards that are based on a design that's already in place, there is something missing in the process. What's missing is that sense of journeying.

So, today I'm going to finish up a couple of orders that I already have out and started, and then I'm going to allow myself some time for artistic roaming. It's as good for the soul as wandering through the woods. I'll let you know where the journey takes me.

Getting there IS the fun.


  1. I saw Chihuly's installation at the Franklin Park Conservatory - it rocked! Just another thing we have in common.

  2. You sound like give great advice, and then forget that you can follow it yourself!

    How do you feel about me "stealing" the 30 Days of Truth concept for myself?


  3. Thanks Everyone!

    By all means, Jo. Feel free to "steal" it... definitely wasn't my original idea, although I may have been the only fool to do all thirty days of it.

  4. Exactly! i've been making a lot of things for swaps recently, and i really have only a vague plan in mind when i start, but still, i felt like i wasn't pulling anything from the depths, for the most part. i'm thinking i need some "canvas" time myself, and i need to make some art for me, because lately, all of it's been going out the door.


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