Un-timely changes, delicious delays


There times when I am in the studio almost a day, almost all evening. And of course, there are times when I can barely break away from other concerns and get into the studio. We all know how hard it can be to balance all of life’s “stuff” in a way we feel comfortable. But every once in a while it all feels quite natural … that it flows so smoothly. That is a most glorious feeling.

Right now isn’t one of those times. Hold on … and please don’t get me wrong … I absolutely am not kvetching. Actually, I am in the studio pretty continuously. The work is going … and going well, just not smoothly in the normal sense.

Instead, it feels a bit like what I imagine a decathlon athlete experiences. They have to think about strategies and performance for SO many events, so many competitions. It seems to me though that their hardest work must be to focus on each completely while  never loosing sight of the overall picture. Me too. I am trying to focus on so many strands of activity right now … as the next exhibition is getting closer and closer. There are so many lovely details: making sure all the matting, framing, plexiglass and all the other display supplies are lined up in the studio … not to mention prepping tags, insurance info, and P.R. stuff too. That is a major job and each detail deserves my attention to quality AND timeliness.

But I am also continuing to make art, and that is keeping my head jumping from task to task. True, I have done all this before. And I made a good list this time around too. So all the practical parts are running according to good schedule.

The image creation process is not running along on anything like a smooth, predictable timetable. I have already completed the sketching, planning, and even much of the painting on many works for the upcoming show. Other pieces though are lagging behind. You see, the work keeps shifting, changing, coming to completion in quite unexpected ways.

If I was running a restaurant and the food was inconsistent, that would be bad. (The chef’s creativity would be happy, the chef’s customers and the bottom line might be put off though.) And many artists I know would recoil from that situation too. But Oh how I do love the tentative, shifting qualities I am seeing. It tells me something is really going on up there in my head! That isn’t a bad thing … but it might be better if it would just wait until I have a few more pieces completed and ready to exhibit.

            

Above are some snippets from the first three phases of an image that I am working on right now. It is based on a budding flower, known as Queen Anne’s Lace. As I work with the lines and the layers of color, I am seeing a need for a few touches of opaque watercolor or gouache to help me finish the piece … to make the opening bud seem to have just a bit more solidity … for it’s stems to have some more substance.

I am also sensing that this image, or one very similar to it, might be destined for a really large format … one of my mylar drawings. Perhaps one about “me mum.” See what I mean, I am already thinking about and planning work for next year! Frankly, if I weren’t an old hand at this I might be really scared, even frantic.

Instead, I am intrigued … deliciously so. And that is why I do this … to be intrigued and challenged; even when it is inconvenient.

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One Response to “Un-timely changes, delicious delays”

  1. jean sampson Says:

    Yep, I know the feeling—-I have 3 huge oil paintings to get done this month—-one is done/almost done/maybe. I know it will happen but I am always changing things, responding to things, etc. And deadlines do come and go—–good luck with the show, John!

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