Its a new year- filled to the brim with endless possibilities. I love the idea of endless possibilities- so much so that a dear friend made this for me to hang in my studio- but since i retired on June 1st i have been completely stalled out over “endless possibilities!”. Sunday on NPR I heard bits & pieces from a TED talk on choices by Barry Schwartz - oh yeah did i ever relate!!- endless possibilities can create paralysis (have you tried picking out a glue recently for your art project?-what’s the best glue for paper? collage? metal? glass? canvas? or mixed media? Is it an acrylic medium? rubber cement? epoxy glue? hot glue? contact cement? silicone glue? Ailene’s Tacky Glue? Yes Paste? Modge Podge? E 4000? glue pad?, glue stick?-well, you get the idea!) Endless possibilities can also create less satisfaction-always questioning- did i really make the right choice? (all that time & effort to choose but was it the right choice?!) and an escalation of expectations- there are so many choices that I expect the one that i finally pick to be perfect but what if its not?
I have experienced all of the above since i retired. I thought i would be jumping right in to making & teaching art-after all that is why i took that leap of faith- but with endless possibilities what did i want to do? paint? & if painting it was, then what kind? mixed media? process? visionary? What about assemblages- my found object sculptural pieces- what should the theme be? should they be inspired by reliquaries? Did i want to make things that would have more universal/commercial appeal or Did i want to make art for just the process of making art? Are they mutually inclusive or exclusive? And the workshops- oh my- what to teach? where to teach? when to teach? how to get participants etc. And then there is my unique artist’s voice: after looking at other art work that I love- everyone from Van Gogh-(where i was lucky enough to visit the show at the Denver Art Museum: “Becoming Van Gogh”) to the outsider artists in “Raw Vision Magazine” to the folk art that i collect on my travels: i felt like i wanted to emulate the styles of each and everyone- what and where was MY voice? Okay, so, you can see how i got stalled out! What about you- have you ever gotten over whelmed with all of the choices we have today? How did you handle it?
I decided to take a step back and give myself a break -I re-organized the studio- thank you Joe and Ikea! then the garage, my file cabinets, and eventually my whole house. My home really feels good now though i am having trouble finding things. LOL!! .
During this time of reflection i started reading inspirational books, magazines, internet newsletters and blogs. i will extract nuggets of wisdom from these to share in my blog. I also started making things just for fun, like i used to when my children were younger- for example, a Thanksgiving Tree:
for my family to write what they are grateful for on the leaves, a wreath for my front door etc.
A week ago my Muse returned -(7 months since retirement!!)- I went in the studio & started painting: here is the painting-a work in progress: I also came up with a fabulous way to create a Santos/Cage doll:from a Barbie for a future workshop and an interesting trick that will help me pick a theme for my next series of assemblages(more on this trick next time) How did the turn around happen? with the help of these wisdom nuggets: a quote by Amelia Earhart struck me like lightening -its so obvious i know, but sometimes you have to be in the right frame of mind to really “get” it! :”The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” AND Kelly Rae Robert’s tip in the Nov., Dec., Jan., issue of “Where Women Create”: “When creating art, I almost always convince myself that i’m just experimenting. This is my little Jedi mind trick i do to help me stay unattached to the painting. The more unattached i can be, the more fearless i am with the canvas. The more fearless, the more fun.” Inspired, i went into the studio to just do it while convincing myself i was only experimenting- sure enough, i started having fun and the creative juices broke loose!! YAY!!
I am still trying to figure out how to work with and not against endless possibilities… a few ideas are germinating…
Happy, wonderful ,creative new year everyone!!!