Here we are a year into the pandemic and now we are snowed in. I know some people really don’t mind not being able to leave the house. I’m one of those. I’ve used the last week to really dive into my work. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few things I would like to be able to do, like grab a coffee or a beer with friends, dinner in a restaurant, art exhibits, and other things like that, but so far I’m ok with Zoom meetings and the extra studio time. I did get to go to the Frist and see the Picasso exhibit safely earlier this month:) This may have had an impact on my new studio practice,
One thing that has changed because of being in the pandemic is my approach to art making. I’ve tried a few times to clear my schedule so I could create in a way that feels more natural. I’m finally getting to do that. I don’t feel the pressure to just knock out paintings. I love getting commissions on occasion but there are times the clients want things I’m not excited to create. I’ve often put the need to please others over my need to create the things I want. I still consider all commissions, but now I am more likely to turn down the work I’m not excited to do.
So with my new approach I’m really getting to revisit the creative process as a whole. I’m playing with all types of materials; collage, paints, oil sticks, assemblage, etc.. This comes at the perfect time too. I’m working toward an August exhibit in the “Green Gallery” at Turnip Green Creative Reuse. This will be a collaboration project with Valentine Adams. Val is a metal artist that uses recycled metals, like old tools and pieces from machinery. So far we’ve had some great conversations about what we want people to get out of this exhibit and through those conversations we came up with the title of “Cross Pollination.” This title isn’t just because of my medium, but because of how we can benefit from mixing things up. That could be mixing up our circle of friends, mix up our lives with new experiences, or as an artist mix up our art making. Every time I’ve experimented with a new medium I’ve taken something new back to my ink transfer process. By challenging ourselves with something new, we force ourselves to come up with new solutions. Every time we go through that process we grow and become better at problem solving. I’ll be sharing more on this as Val and I create the work. I expect to have the first piece complete by early March.
My new studio process includes choosing the medium I want to work in that day. Of course I have a few projects going on that require me to complete things on a timeline, but if I need a day to just create some collage work, I do it. Some days I just draw on old magazine pages with colored pencils. My goal isn’t to finish a piece of art, rather to just be creating, or playing. I’ll make several things throughout the day and just put them in a pile, or maybe tack them to the wall. At some point I might decide to work on them again or I might totally rework them into something different. I just want to free myself up to create without limits. Let it flow!
One reason for this change, other than the pandemic, is I was putting too much pressure on myself to make things I wasn’t excited about. I was focusing on pleasing others and not myself. Of course I want everyone to like my work, but if I’m miserable creating it it’s not worth it. Realistically not everyone will like my work anyway so why not create for myself and let the ones who like what I’ve made follow along and the ones who don’t move on to an artist they love.
This post is getting a little longer than I anticipated so I’ll leave it at that. I intend to post more often, but as you know, I get caught up in the studio and forget to share:) Hopefully I’ll be back in a couple weeks with some more thoughts about what I have going on, and talk about how connecting with other artist has really helped me push through. Until then, thanks for reading. Stay safe and warm:) RLP