Saturday, February 23, 2008

From the Sideline: A New Perspective on Routine

Chakra-Mandala portrait #2, detail. Oil on canvas, 12" x 12"

There's nothing like illness to help call into question one's typical daily routine and the life orientation behind it. Sometimes, thank goodness, it doesn't take much of an illness. For me, for instance, the last five days of achy misery on the couch have been highly educational.

Day one and two, Tuesday and Wednesday, I still managed to write my three Morning Pages (a la Julia Cameron), make my Daily Collages, correspond with clients, and make an effort to at least contemplate my "Projects and Actions" spreadsheet.

On Thursday, I wrote one token Morning Page, and, during a burst of good intention late in the afternoon, began a collage only to lose steam part way through. Finally, under headache-induced duress, I gave in to sleep, a Sex and the City DVD marathon, and my husband's offer to skip his yoga class in favor of making me dinner.

On Friday, between naps and DVDs, I wondered why it had been so hard to let go.

Today, I'm glad to report that I'm sitting upright again, and I finally understand: I've been working too hard. Playing too little. Spending too much time alone. When a free moment crops up, rather than calling a friend, having fun, or relaxing, I've been choosing, almost without fail, the less-difficult thrill of knocking just one more item off my perpetually growing To Do List (or, for a change of pace, adding an item or two). For some of you, the idea that work might feel easier than relaxation or reaching out for human contact might seem foreign, maybe even enviable. It does have it's rewards (I'm an excellent hire, for instance, and an exemplary student). But here's the rub:

As much as I want to feel well again, as much as I am enjoying my work these days, as much as I'm excited by most every item on my ever-growing list, I am NOT looking forward to reengaging in the grind that has become my daily brew.

How depressing is that?

It's time to balance all this "Living Art" with a little more "Arting Life."

Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

More Collage-a-day






Monday, February 11, 2008

Two More

Again, two posts in one day (because blogger doesn't seem to like it if you try to put more than five images on one post.)

My latest collages:

#35 - High Tides - SOLD


Moving Forward

I went to a workshop this weekend. I knew I'd have little time for collage, maybe no time at all, but just in case, I packed along a glue stick, a small pair of scissors, and a very small grab-bag folder of scrap paper. As I suspected, I didn't have time to make my collage, but this morning I restricted my palette to the contents of that folder.

A little more than half way through this project, I've begun to think: what's next? Will I continue to make collages? Maybe one a week instead of one a day? Will I take on a different one-a-day discipline? I definitely do want to follow this effort with another. I'm not sure exactly what, though I have a few ideas. I'm thinking about it.






More to come...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Today's Collage

(Two posts today - see below.)


More Daily Collages

This week, I hit that point I've been waiting for, wishing for: The I Don't Care Anymore crossroads. It's an important moment in art making, in any creative effort. It's where you decide to either plug along in boredom, making more "safe" choices, or to acknowledge your boredom and stop making altogether. But there is one other alternative: it's about staying engaged in the work, and at the same time, letting yourself off the hook. It's about daring to make a mess, messing it all up, letting go of expectation that everything you make must be genius.

Thomas Edison is famous for saying that "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."

If you decide to stay engaged in the work at the point when you've run out of inspiration, you have to stop expecting everything you make to be great. You have to be willing to sweat, to work, to start taking bigger risks, maybe even ruining the piece entirely to invest in discovery, so that you have something new to bring to the next one. The surprising thing is, the labor feels good! It's a reminder: Ah, so this is play. I forgot! It's exactly where those elusive kernels of inspiration come from.

And so, the cycle continues.

This is exactly where I find myself, four weeks into my Daily Collage practice: Alternating between getting reckless, making a mess, and finding something new. And feeling inspired to be careful and thoughtful again, too.

#24 - Storm Moving In

#25 - After the Storm