This is the final week of the online course. There will be one more phone conference but the group members seem to all feel the call to choice-making and action. Leslie raised the question this week for us all to consider: What do you need to reach your goal?
My goals sounded clear enough; launch new work for an exhibition in June. Implicit in that outer goal are more challenging ones, however; believing in my inner guidance to direct me as I create and in my artistic abilities to produce good work. So what I need to reach my goal is confidence in my artistic abilities.
Since I set up that action plan, I’ve been working steadily on the first new piece. Sometimes it has been fatiguing. Repetitive work takes perseverance. That’s the physical part of the process.
However, it has been the emotional end of birthing this first new piece that has presented the greater challenge. My original design on the sample didn't work on the larger piece. At the very final stages of completing it, I tried a number of options and ideas and all I did for two days was rule each one out. That’s when the doubt and anxiety started to climb.
This weekend turned into a veritable labor and delivery scenario. I was scared -- scared of failure, scared of mediocrity -- of disappointing others and myself. Making the final choices to finish the piece and trusting my choices felt like the labor of childbirth --but unfortunately the images of pink, healthy babies got thrown out the window and scenes from Rosemary’s Baby crept in.
My inner critic kept telling me I had built up the expectations too high in my and others’ minds for this firstborn piece in this series -- and this child would arrive scrawny and and red-faced and screamin' ugly.
But I persevered through the labor and birthing process, through the fatigue and fear and not knowing what the outcome would be once I washed away the water soluble materials to view the finished product. I did all the positive self-taught that Leslie has reminded us to do during this course and gently worked to soothe away the distress and anxieties. I took on the the job of being my own midwife.
I did it!! On Sunday evening, February 21 at 9:oo PM, a new work entered the world!
Here it is stretched out on the floor after washing and pressing. Although the darker letters may look black in this picture (wrong lighting), they are actually shades of light to medium gray.
I woke up yesterday morning with ideas to flank it on both sides with two pieces that can work individually or create a triptych. My thumb is out of my mouth, I don't feel emotionally needy and desperate and I'm confident in the work and the ideas that are driving it.
The lure of staying with a series like this is believing that by creating a container for exploration, one will move through the expected variations and then begin fleshing out the unexpected, the exciting.
Sketching ways to combine and install these long narrow hangings, it’s becoming apparent to me that the ideas I’m getting for these are becoming more sculptural. It’s exciting.
There are no guarantees that any of these new ideas will work and it feels a bit like I'm using my hands to feel around in the dark, but I know that even in the dark if you wait long enough to get used to it, faint outlines will appear and you can navigate.