I started this monotype in my previous studio about three years ago. Yep, that’s a thousand days, people. I’m predictable in my art-making process; I get *so* excited to start! The early stages of making put me in a fevered flow state. While happily playing with color and shape, I don’t feel hunger, fatigue, or distraction. I’m a comic book superhero art-making machine. And then, I stall.
After all the excited beginnings, I eventually get to a place where I have to make big decisions that will either kill or strengthen the art. I’ve written about the trouble with Pride and Ego in art making, and I think about that quicksand when I stonewall. I lecture my art-making mind:
This is about the process, not the outcome. If the resulting art sucks, it’s just pigment and paper, which fits conveniently in the shredder. We’ll simply start over, and transfer what we learned from this art over to the next creation. Quit aiming for a masterpiece, and tune into your maker’s hands & brain. Focus, and enjoy this time, with these supplies, and this day of creating.
Eventually, I listen to myself, and get back to work. It’s not unusual for half a dozen unfinished pieces to be laying around the periphery of my work space, with more tucked into a closet. I listen to podcasts about finishing things, which emboldens me to grab a notepad, and pull something unfinished out from the shadows, while I muster up some conviction to carry on.
The notes I jotted down for this monotype were focused on color, reflective light, and keeping the mark making direct, unblended, and loose. Pastels worked perfect for this size and style of image. Although the source photo is old and pixelated (snapped a couple of decades ago in my circa 1920 bathroom) and the image was all one color (yellow), I could still play with warm shades of green, gold, blue and purple.
The satisfaction from finishing something that’s been languishing for so long is pretty awesome. If you haven’t finished anything lately, I highly recommend listening to something encouraging in a podcast, pulling some art out of hiding, and having a good dose of fun with it. The worst thing that could happen is that the final piece is less than what you aimed for, but you will have learned lessons in the process, and your next attempts will reward you by carrying over everything you’ve acquired in that active, go for it, tally-ho mark-making. You got this!
If you make promises to yourself, and then break them – whether your self-directives are about making time for your art, getting a walk in every day, or reaching out to family more frequently, check out this article by Ben Hardy – If You Knew Something Would Improve Your Life, Why Wouldn’t You? Food for thought.
This article by John Fawkes breaks down the baby steps of Eight Simple but Powerful Habits that will Make You More Successful, and I like that almost all of them are small and very do-able, which feeds into some of the directive Ben mentions in the previous article above.
And in the same theme of lists, here are 17 Ways to Improve your Life in 2017. from Dr. Keith Ablow. We’re 4 months in, so there’s no time like today to jump in on at least a few of these thought provoking exercises.
I just finished listening to A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, and I loved it! This week, I’m beginning The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, as recommended by my son. It’s already got me giggling in the studio. Have you listened to/read either of them? What’s on your reading list? How about your Podcast list?
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post –
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For what matters in life is not whether we receive a round of applause; what matters is whether we have the courage to venture forth despite the uncertainty of acclaim.
~ Amor Towles,