Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Finding Calm

Pages 3, 20" x 21", silkscreened, dyed silks. Reverse applique, raw edge applique, stitching.

Armed with focus, determination and an impressive plan for my artwork this year, I envisioned producing the next group of pieces in the Parables series in high gear.

Normally, when I start creating a new piece,I go to sleep with a question and wake up with an inner image in my mind of where to begin. That idea either works or leads me to one that does.

This time, however, the Mt. Everest of ideas surrounding language imagery felt like a tangled mess. My mind kept racing, ideas kept piling up and competing -- no clarity, no focus, no "seeing" a clear idea to begin the new work. Just more and more ideas competing for attention.

Clearly,a curious and troubling situation, but only in that one direction.

Work with the Seeds pieces bubbles with excitement, focus and productivity. The small work above, completed this weekend, investigated a number of new options.

Here were the "what ifs" it explored: What would colored threadwork look like on the black and white printed surface? What if I layered two fabrics on top of one another and cut through some of the seed shapes to reveal the fabric underneath? What will a strong golden yellow look like as a contrasting color? How would it work to add a single french knot at the center of each seed shape?

This small work excites me with even more new options. So it isn't my creativity that's suffering, it's something else that's going on with the language imagery.

Eventually I recognized yesterday I needed to take all that unpleasant and distracting burble of ideas in my head and spill it out on paper.

As I wrote, my inner churning and chattering began to quiet.I began returning to that inner balance point that is so crucial for me. I need calm.

I think I revved up my inner engines to take on 2009 and create new language pieces like a racer in the Indy 500. But all I started doing was spinning my wheels and overheating in the pit.

I'm throwing out the whole idea of speed and action. Instead, I'll visualize a quietly flowing stream and me moving along with it. If new Parables pieces aren't ready to emerge, I'll give them the time they need.

We all talk about trusting our process. Right now I have to live it.

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