Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round, Round and Round

In all directions (and on every surface around me), new ideas and new work are moving forward. Hard to believe that just a short time ago I felt my wheels were spinning. There's a rhythm building again and more than any outward progress, it's that feeling that signals to me I'm back in my flow again.

Waiting to reengage with that energy is where trust enters in -- not a blind, unreasoning trust, but one based on experience with creative cycles. You remind yourself that not knowing where the work is going is perfectly fine, that the willingness to release a grip on outcomes makes the process so much more exciting -- and even though doubts and fears may creep in about whether new ideas will ever flow out in the studio again, you just patiently show up and do the work as the best you can, holding the intention in your mind and heart to create and trusting that eventually a new cycle of creative activity will begin again.

And then almost without realizing it you seem to find your stride. You totally forget that you ever felt anything but happily engaged and start setting out rain barrels to capture the downpour of ideas. Or at least this is how it works for me.

During the quiet part of my creative cycle, I quietly stitched and completed this 18" x 18" sample piece, learning a lot from the process about what this type of flowing, repetitive stitching can add to the surface. I decided to crop the work so that the gestural writing flows off the plane. Now that it's complete I can consider what I would change and what variations I would explore on the next one and appreciate how it provided activity for me during an otherwise quiet time.

At the studio I've been silkscreening with mid and light value grays and discharging a new silk ground that is a first layer. The next steps will develop the surface with more language imagery. I'll keep creating these and working on the types of marks I make on the surfaces. These marks will influence what the additional layers will be. If it sounds mysterious, it is. The work isn't preplanned, the ideas and meanings evolve around the concept or theme.

Here's what the piece looks like after painting and printing the first layer and then discharging back into it to age and soften the marks a bit. So far so good. It has potential. Over the next few studio days I'll revisit this and contemplate what to add next.

After a physical day at the studio, by evening I'm ready to sit, but I always combine that time with reading or some sort of prep or finishing work. A new Pages piece idea is beginning and in order to create it, I need to cut hundreds of these letterforms in a variety of values and scales.

There's always a pad of paper near me in the evenings to jot down to-dos for the next day and a pile of books and magazines nearby that I'm reading or intend to read. Creativity and imagination need infusions and so I am always mining my environment for stimulation.

And it all makes me happy. That's my basic barometer for success. If you're happy, if you feel passionate about what you are creating, you must be doing something right. If you put your love and passion into what you make, others will be drawn to the work as well. It will sing a siren's song.

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