I lost some of myself this past week. or, at least I’ve been looking for something of me that I cannot seem to find. This brain trauma thing is hard to understand. There are no signposts to tell you where you are, no milestones to help keep track. Sometimes you’re moving forward and sometimes it feels like everything but you is moving forward.
Maybe that’s why I am painting – to have a path from beginning to end that gets me somewhere.
Most of my work now starts with colour choice. There are colours that look like someplace I want to go, to dive into and feel with all my senses.
Since travelling seems out of the question right now, I find the only places I can get away to are through the paint and music (when my head can process it). One can truly swim around in the sounds of Bon Iver and the depths of indanthrene blue.
I’m just checking in, with you and myself. Maybe next week will be different or it may be much the same.
just call me Dory. x
My studio is quiet. I move around in socked feet, careful to keep sound to a minimum. This is not my chosen way of working, rather a necessity for the sake of our eldest child whose chronic illness makes sleep elusive and whose bedroom is next to me.There is no technology or music or song or words out loud. But after spending many a frustrated hour in this unfamiliar space, I now find myself more fully engaged in the process of my art. This is an unexpected silver lining.
It has taken time, but I have found a rhythm in this silence, a way of working that focusses me in on thoughts of colour and structure, the scrape and line of paint and surface…Though I am in some senses limited, I am also stilled. and distilled. I allow the paint to do the talking, to sing the song…and I hear it more keenly in this season of socked feet and whispered movement.
Perhaps you, too, are in limiting circumstances. It may well change how you approach your work, but it does not have to stop your work from forming. And if we choose to make the necessary adjustments, we will move forward. Progress will be made.
Sometimes a day just gets away, but the colours keep tugging at my heart and the studio keeps calling my name. So I grab the chance when it comes: art after dark it is…
I am working up to a painting and the (day) view outside that big black window is helping me through my paces. I decided to take a wee watercolour I sketched days before from there and move it along…
The lighting looks all wrong, but the chair feels “just right” so I go with it – and surprise! I’m enjoying the limited view…
and progress is made in the midst of it all…
There is rarely – if ever – the perfect time and space to exercise your gifts and talents. If we wait around for that anomaly, nothing creative may ever get done!
So I have decided to go for it, even in the few minutes, in between the lists, early morning or late evening because my creativity – and your creativity – has value and worth.
A daily creative process takes a bit of planning. If I’m going to keep going for the whole of January, it’s got to be something within my reach, otherwise I’d lose heart. I really enjoy the process of drawing small with a rainbow of Sharpie markers to play with. It’s art I can move around the house and work on in any room – a necessity in our busy household!
here are 3 days from my sketchbook…
some detail shots…
The thing about working like this (markers, small scale, limited time) is that a mark is a mark. You have to go with it – there’s no room for perfectionism. That is a healthy way to keep creativity vibrant and evolving. And I get my ideas out on the page, even if it’s just a few sentences or notes. You can do something like this, too!
There is a certain beauty in the rhythm of daily practice. Creativity thriving in the routine – what a paradox! But as I turn aside to draw, sketch, sing or write for a few moments every single day I begin to see things differently. I refocus. I remember what I knew and had forgotten. I mess up. I try again. I move forward even if it is just because the clock has. I’m not practising for some big project or event. It’s a different kind of exercise. Each day has its own flavour and so does this routine. Sometimes I get lost in it for an hour and sometimes I’ve got about five minutes! Still, I can look back and see the progress of these simple tasks because I’ve continued to try it, change it, and see it all again for the first time.
Here is a progression of 2 drawings worked through at the same time. One sketch is pastel and conte crayon, the other Sharpie markers with a hurried dusting of background colour at the end. It was so good to switch things up and remind myself about line and mark making.
There’s no pressure here. I don’t keep a 365 schedule and I’m not suggesting you turn yourself into a pretzel to make that happen, either. But I do swing this rhythm on a regular basis. And I’m always glad I did. Maybe it could help you, too. Be encouraged.
Restless – I guess that’s what I’d call it. I’m finally back in the studio after the kiddo’s holidays and I find myself looking in so many directions at once…wanting to work on way too many things at once…wondering if I can even do that and like, keep up with the rest of my life (family, house, farm, office, sleep, etc). And those feelings can become overwhelming to the point of everything stopping. I don’t want to go there because there is not a good place for my heart or creativity or the ones that I love. or the laundry pile for that matter. So I’m listening to my restless heart, but I am talking to it with the wisdom of my experience…”you can multi-task, but no plate spinning. you can get up early or stay up late, but not both. you can work on 2 or 3 pieces at a time, but not more because you don’t need to. this is enough to feed you (restless heart) and not burn out or up everything else…”
so here are three works in progress, in the midst of transition:
a few detail pictures: paint, mixed media and the printed word…
so this place of tension – a balance of heart and wisdom – could very well be my in-feet-first, happy place. It’s too soon to tell but I am exploring the possibilities.
What about you?
do you thrive in the tension or drown in the lists? What brings balance to these constantly shifting sands?
Let there be wisdom and heart in these wilder parts. be encouraged.
I’m tempted to walk away in this moment where everything
feels disjointed, sounds out of tune, has no rhyme or reason…I’m in the middle of the mess in the middle and all of it seems to be sliding around like mud. Do I stay?
I think every creative process goes through an “ugly duckling” stage…usually more than one. It’s a difficult place to be. Sometimes I step back for a while (or longer) before I do something I might regret. It’s a risk. I could completely lose focus or interest and be unable to find my way again. But it’s a chance to get a different perspective – to let the light and space shift what I’m seeing…
and find movement where I thought there was none.
I’m taking this little boat further into the journey, and hopefully out of the mire into some place where people can connect with the song it is singing…the story it wants to tell…
So if you are in the middle of your working and everything is sliding, well done! You may have lost your way but you’ve made it this far. Seriously. There can be a truer sound, a sharper focus that comes with the working and reworking and reworking of something we are in the middle of creating. Be encouraged today.