Saturday, 19 July 2014

Best Laid Plans

“This blog has gotten long enough. Next week, I’ll continue, showing you how I created my version of the flowers and what I did with them...”

That’s how I ended last week’s blog. But before you scroll down to the bottom of this post to see my art piece "Flowers of a summer garden", I confess it’s still not done.

Oh, I had great ideas. But the piece had other ideas. Art work is like a child, I’m finding – you tell it what to do, but the child twists your ideas around and often – always? – turns out way different than what you’d dreamed about. Good – sometimes even better – but definitely different.

So here’s what happened with The Flowers of the Summer Garden piece. First, I created the backgrounds, using all the bright greens that felt like summer, with a touch of darker greens to imply depth and shadow.
I like using fabric like a painter would use paint, building my backgrounds, and later the flowers, layer by layer, adding bits here and there. I like laying the fabric down and stitching on the raw adds texture, much like a painter adds texture by using a palette knife instead of a brush sometimes. (But honestly? Well, laziness has something to do with it, too – tucking in all those raw edges in and stitching them neatly down by hand would have taken forever.)

So here are the results of the flowers.


coreopsis -- this one doesn't lay flat, and there's too much red. I may have to redo it.
And at this point in the process, I thought all I needed to do was square them up and arrange them on a background, so I began to audition them on fabrics I had on hand.

too much white

Too blah--not enough contrast

kind of funky ... it has possibilities.
That’s when the art muse spoke up. “Hey!” she said. “What would happen if ...?”

Here’s my advice to you if you have a project with a definite deadline and your inner muse whispers those words. Ignore her. Finish your project. Done is done. It is what it is.

But if you want to do your best work, then listen up, because those words may start all your cylinders firing, and you could be on the edge of something great – either a great success, or a great failure. (Great failures can be best work, too, if you learn from them.) Why not take a chance, and go for it?

The words I heard were, “ What happens if you take your scissors and cut the flowers apart and rearrange them?”

Don’t worry – I hedged my bets. I photocopied my fabric flowers and used those paper art pieces to play with various ideas. Cut them into quarters. Cut them into wedges. Cut them into one-inch squares. Arrange the pieces on polka dots. Arrange them on batik. Go for abstract. Hey, I could even create a 3-D mobile with them. The variations were endless.

How to choose which idea would be the best one? Creativity experts almost all agree: there comes a time in your project when you need to walk away...for a while. Your brain needs a rest, your eyes need a fresh perspective, and your project needs to go to that mysterious place where ideas marinate. It’s not only creative projects that benefit from this time of rest. "Should I buy this car?" "Should I tell Mary what I really think?" "Who should I invite to the party?" "Oh, I guess I’ll sleep on it before I make that decision." Who knows how this works? I don’t, but I know it does.

So that’s where my project is at. I'm waiting until I have some clarity on this project. In the meantime, it’s been hot for the last two weeks here in the Comox Valley – hot enough to make you think it’s actually summer time, and it’s okay to be lazy; hot enough to enjoy "wasting" a little time, waiting.

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. - Bertrand Russell

(Actually, Bertrand Russell did not coin that phrase. Those words cannot be found in his writings. But eveyone thought he might have said it, because he is considered so brilliant. The phrase comes from a long-forgotten novel “Phrynette Married” by Marthe Troly-Curtin, J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and London. 1912. Just goes to show that you may be a forgotten nobody, but your legacy could live on in unexpected ways. That's my woo-woo thought for the day.)

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