I feel like I am running full speed and not getting to where I want to be right now. My mind is overflowing with ideas, images, colours and so many other things that I am not sure which pathway I should follow. This is not as dire as it may sound since I consider it better to have a surplus of ideas rather than go through a dry spell when I am not able to muster up a single concept or idea of what type of art I should be pursuing. This past week was one in which I found myself flipping from one idea to another, from working on templates for an exhibit piece to making clay beads and pendants. Add to that a mix of ideas for something that will likely end up as a mixed media piece done on a fabric like burlap and intended to be hung somewhere and you might be able to understand why my mind is feeling like it is being jumbled about with an overload of images coming at me rather like laser beams or bolts of lightening causing me to move frantically about.
This blaze of activity both physical and mental is very much welcome since I enjoy working with a diversity of subject matter and art mediums. The only problem is that right now, the exhibit piece needs to be front and foremost, the tentative drawings need to be translated into the finalized version and done on the specified paper with the exacting dimensions of 6 inches by 8 inches followed precisely. I posted two of the unfinished samples in last Sunday's post. At this time, I am thinking that both the tree and the bridge need to be part of the final version, but that I need to inject a little more of Japanese culture onto the sheet of paper. How such a small piece of paper will allow me to put all my ideas onto it is beyond what I see in my mental sketchbook. It is almost as if there is a film running in my head with fleeting images of Japanese culture, the day to day life and zen like scenes begging me to put them down on paper. How can I possibly do justice to all these scenes? Then my muse jumped into action and made me sit still and think about what it was that I felt should be shown.
The concept of the portrayal of a zen like moment came to me as being what I should be striving towards in my work. Simplicity should be the key element of what I hoped to display. To put everything that I saw in my mind down on a small sheet of paper would be wrong on so many levels. Keeping the idea of creating a zen moment would mean that I needed to whittle away at all the "extras" that kept showing up in my sketches. I need to pick a key image and keep it simple, not overwhelm the paper with too many images. I still plan to finish the two templates that I showed you. But, I will keep them simple and true to what I hope to be simple, but elegant images. I know what I need to do to get moving on what I hope to be the final sketch that will be put to paper. But, will I know when I have captured enough of the spirit of a culture that I love so much without losing balance? Keeping it simple is much easier said than done. Knowing when too much is just that, too much, is difficult for me as I tend to want to put everything from my notes into play. Restraint is something that I need to learn artistically as well as in other areas of my life.
With all this in mind, I will proceed with caution, but not lose my enthusiasm for the project. All the extraneous material will not go to waste meaning that all the ideas that have come to me will translate into ideas to be put onto subsequent portrayals of Japanese life. The piece that is sent off for the exhibition will be one of many pieces that will come to be a series. With that in mind, I am thinking that I will make a special album to contain all my ideas and thoughts of zen moments in life. I will share these with you as they come to be, but know that it will take a while to capture all those moments. But, for now, the first piece has to be put to paper and the next few days will see me spend more hours in my studio than outside of it. I will live and breathe art, but saying that, I know that I will more than likely take little breaks where I will spend some time on my obsession with jewelry and other odd art forms that I have not previously given serious thought. The idea of wall hangings done on fabric is terribly tempting, but I will not start on such a piece until I have completed the exhibit piece and it has been wrapped and sent on its way. At least that is the plan as of now.
I do have to show you the jewelry that made it from just a fleeting idea to actually being made in the past few days. A few ideas for upper arm bracelets found me playing with paper which became the base for several pieces. For some reason, I felt that a collection of three bracelets worn collectively could be fun to make. A few single bracelets also were made, but again the idea of wearing them on the upper arm found me making them larger, having more impact than a delicate band might have. I have put up some pictures for you to see and I would really appreciate your thoughts on these. Would you wear this type of art? Would you rather wear a collection of three or just a single band? Realize that the bracelets have not been embellished with any stamping or wrapping of cording on them. They are pure naked pieces which will remain that way until I decide what I want to put on them. I realize that they still need to be refined quite a bit as they are very raw in their execution. But, I will refine the process and see if I can make the bracelets into a nice line of jewelry for gifts. At least that is my hope! I have also put up pictures of a couple of pendants that were made in addition to the two necklaces and the bracelets. Let me know what you think as I welcome all opinions both positive and negative and learn from them both.
Now, it is back to the exhibit piece! For the next few days, I will spend a great many hours in the studio working on this and with a bit of luck, it will be in priority mail by Saturday. I may not be a presence on Twitter, but know that I am thinking of all my friends over there. Julie Anne (@JulieAnneRhodes) has her daughter visiting, Cate (@shardArtist) is working on a new mosaic, Elaine (@elainefrenett) is always working on something fun in her journals or in the classes that she teaches. So many wonderful people to get to know and I hope you take the time to follow them and read what they post. Oh, I almost forgot to mention a lovely artist, Liza (@LizasArt). Liza does the most wonderful faerie art work and the resulting pictures are breath taking. Take a wee break to follow the faeries and they will steal your heart just as they have stolen mine.
That is my week in a nutshell! Once again, I have company for a few days and so, studio time will be stolen moments, likely far into the night. Teresa and friends will be heading north in a few days to spend time with relatives in Scotland. As much as I would love to join them, traveling is not something that I do easily. So, I will spend my time in the studio, working flat out to complete my project and so I shall!
What special projects are you working on right now? Will it be on display at a fair or competition of some sort? Send in a comment and let us all know what you are up to these days. We would all love to hear about it and maybe it might inspire some to try something new.
Here is to another productive week!